2014 Election: Chaos in Bihar

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Pre-poll seduction stings
    Lalu Speaker notifies split band of 13


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    Abdul Bari Siddiqui (second from right) addresses a news meet at the RJD office in Patna on Monday with the six MLAs (not all in picture) who have denied allegations of quitting the party.


    Patna, Feb. 24: Bihar today led the way in pre-election shenanigans with 13 MLAs belonging to Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) being notified “unattached” members by the Assembly Speaker after they submitted a signed petition stating that they no longer wished to be part of the party.

    But within hours, leader of the RJD in the Assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui paraded six of those MLAs and denied that they had signed any petition asking to be notified as a separate group.

    Siddiqui charged chief minister Nitish Kumar with “engineering a conspiracy” and asked how Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary had allowed the notification of a separate group when at least 15 of the RJD’s 22 MLAs needed to break out to escape the anti-defection law.

    The split gives much-needed breathing space to Nitish’s minority government which is dependent on the whimsical Independents for survival.

    Siddiqui said the six MLAs had told him they had not signed any petition. “Apparently the MLAs had signed a petition for Samrat Choudhary, who made them believe it was to request Lalu Prasad to give him (Samrat) a Lok Sabha ticket from Khagaria and also for a call attention in the recently concluded Assembly session,” Siddiqui said. “Nitish Kumar is leading a minority government and he is indulging in horse-trading,” he added.

    Siddiqui added that the Speaker should have verified from each MLA before issuing such a notification. “We have called an emergency meeting of our MLAs at 12 noon on Tuesday,” Siddiqui said. “The few RJD MLAs who have been part of the conspiracy will lose their membership.”

    The dramatic developments have come as a shock for the embattled Lalu, who already faces the prospect of losing a key ally in Ram Vilas Paswan to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

    The RJD boss, who is in New Delhi, was giving TV bites reaching out to Paswan to join the fight against “communalism” when news of the split hit him. “Report mila hai. Pata kar rahe hai. Sab sahi nahi hai…” (Got the report. Finding out. It is not entirely true…),” Lalu said and rushed into his room at his 25 Tughlak Road residence. He was glued to the news channels for some time while his lieutenant, Prem Gupta, got busy on the phone. Lalu remained indoors and tried to reach out to his leaders in Bihar over phone.

    The drama unfolded around 12.30pm with the notification of the Speaker. The chief architect of the split and RJD’s chief whip in the Assembly, Samrat Choudhary, and another MLA, Javed Iqbal Ansari, celebrated the occasion by distributing sweets among their followers.

    “We had given an application to the Speaker on February 14 that we no longer have faith in the RJD and we should be either allowed to merge with the JD(U) or be treated as a separate group. The Speaker has issued the notification today,” Samrat told The Telegraph.

    Samrat, who had accompanied Nitish to Khagaria yesterday, alleged that Lalu was more concerned with the welfare of the Congress. “The RJD has become a B-team of the Congress and it has become a private company rather than a political party,” he said.

    Samrat, the son of former Congress, Samata Party and RJD leader Shakuni Choudhary, denied that any fraud had been committed when pointed out that at least six of the 13 MLAs were now claiming that they did not sign the petition. “I did not sign on their behalf in the petition,” he said.

    However, Lalu can take some consolation from the fact that most MLAs belonging to his core votebase — Muslims and Yadavs — returned to the fold immediately. Of the five Muslim MLAs who were in the list of 13, three turned up at Siddiqui’s news meet to deny defection. Two of the three Yadavs also followed suit.

    For Lalu, the wheels have turned full circle. In the early 1990s, Lalu split the BJP block in the Assembly after the party threatened to withdraw support to his government following the arrest of LK Advani in Samastipur while he was on his Ram Rath Yatra. The splinter group was recognised by the Speaker, though it did not have the required numbers to escape the anti-defection law.
    Pre-poll seduction stings Lalu
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    A clear indication that Indian politics is not based on ideology or convictions, but sheer quest for power!
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Breather for CM, glare on Speaker

    Patna, Feb. 24: The “split” in the RJD legislature party, though described as being “unethically” and “brutally” engineered, is set to give the much needed numerical strength to chief minister Nitish Kumar to enter the Lok Sabha battle without the worry of how to save his minority government on the floor of the House.

    Poll forecasts have predicted major losses for the JD(U) in the coming general election with the BJP expected to get over half of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats. The opinion polls, sources said, have come as a challenge for the Nitish camp which is trying to project itself as the protector of Muslims by pointing out that the chief minister had split from his 17-year-old ally over Narendra Modi.

    The party is now left with 115 MLAs, besides the Speaker, and is dependent on the support of the four MLAs of the Congress, who, of late, have turned inimical to Nitish, and the maverick Independents, who are always ready to demand their pound of flesh in exchange for their vote, to survive.

    Sources pointed out that of the 13 MLAs whose signatures are said to be there in the petition submitted to the Speaker, five are Muslims. “Nitish realises that he needs to hold on to his Muslim votebank,” said a leader of the party, who did not wish to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the issue.

    However, it is also true that of the six MLAs who were later seen by the side of the RJD’s leader in the Assembly, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, three were Muslims. “The picture is still hazy,” the JD(U) leader added. “Let’s see what happens tomorrow when all the 13 MLAs are expected to be in Patna.”

    The dramatic developments have also turned the lens on Speaker Choudhary. Siddiqui was left fuming at the Speaker’s decision to issue the notification. “You can see six of our MLAs are with me expressing their shock on how their names were included in a separate group. Moreover, notifying the separate group of the RJD requires at least 15 of its 22 MLAs as per the anti-defection law. The Speaker has supported Nitish’s unethical venture to engineer the farcical split,” Siddiqui said.

    Nitish and his mandarins appear to have taken a leaf out of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s book on the art of political survival in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. In 2003, then chief minister Mulayam, aided by Speaker Kesrinath Tripathi of the BJP, had weaned away 40 MLAs from Mayawati’s BSP. Though Allahabad High Court took three years to declare Tripathi’s notification illegal, Mulayam’s purpose was served. His government survived and it eventually won the trust vote in 2006.

    Political observers here find a similar advantage accruing to Nitish. Even if the RJD “parades” its MLAs claiming that their signatures were forged or moves court against the Speaker’s “high- handedness”, the Nitish government will continue to have the backing of the “separate group” created by the Speaker’s notification in the House.

    The person who appears to have played a “key role” in the coup is JD(U) MP Lallan Singh. He was seen in the Speaker’s chamber on the last day of the budget session on Saturday confabulating with rebel leader Samrat Choudhary and a few RJD legislators.

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    Breather for CM, glare on Speaker
     

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