With a lone legislator of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha joining Janata Dal (United), and two of the three Lok Janshakti Party MLAs in Bihar set to follow suit, chief minister Nitish Kumar’s party is close to an absolute majority in Bihar.
On August 1, Sunit Kumar Singh, the son of state minister Narendra Kumar Singh and the lone JMM MLA, merged his party with JD(U). Of the three LJP MLAs – Pramod Kumar Singh (Bhabhua) and Naushad Alam (Thakurganj) – are expected to follow suit soon.
The third legislator belonging to former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s party, Zakir Khan (Araria) is considered too controversial, and JD(U) is reluctant to admit him into the party.
With the 3 cross-overs, JD(U)’s tally in 243-member assembly is closer to the half-way mark. With the help of the 6 independent MLAs, JD(U) will command a majority without BJP’s support. With the JD(U)-BJP alliance working smoothly, there is, however, no possibility of JD(U) jettisoning BJP, which won an impressive 91 seats in the assembly polls last November.
“The alliance is working well, on terms dictated by the chief minister. So we don’t foresee any such possibility,” an observer maintained.
The two parties together, bagged a spectacular four-fifth majority, leaving RJD-LJP combine a distant second. While Paswan’s outfit could only win three seats, Lalu Prasad’s RJD, which had governed Bihar for 15 years, saw its tally plummet to 22.
Political observers attach considerable significance to the recent changes in the composition of the Bihar assembly in the past few weeks.
“The numerical strength of each political party in the assembly is such that no leader other than Nitish Kumar can think of forming the government, either on his own, or in alliance with any other outfit. The only alternative would be a fresh round of electoral battle,” said another observer. Economic Times