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It's official! Nitish splits with BJP, trust vote on Wednesday

Last updated on: June 16, 2013 17:25 IST

It's official! Nitish splits with BJP, trust vote on Wednesday

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Vicky Nanjappa and M I Khan

In a major setback to the National Democratic Alliance ahead of next year's Lok Sabha election, the Janata Dal-United on Sunday broke its ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi, bringing to an end a 17-year-old alliance that had held firm through thick and thin in the national politics.

Heading the eight-year-old coalition in the state, JD-U, which does not need BJP support to run the government, removed 11 saffron ministers from the state Cabinet and decided to seek a vote of confidence on June 19 in view of the "new situation".

Sunday's development is a major jolt to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which is now left with only three constituents – the BJP, Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal.

JD-U President Sharad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced the break up of the coalition at a press conference, exactly a week after Modi was made the BJP's campaign committee chairman, considered just a step short of being made the prime ministerial candidate. Yadav also quit as convenor of the NDA.

"We cannot compromise with our basic principles. We are not worried about the consequences. As long as the alliance was Bihar-centric, there was no problem. But we had no alternative now. We are not responsible. We were forced to take this decision," the Bihar CM said.

"The BJP is going through a new phase. As long as there was no external interference in the Bihar alliance, it ran smoothly. Problems began whenever there was external interference," Kumar said without taking the name of Modi even once in the half-an-hour press conference but made several barbs aimed at him.

With inputs from PTI

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Image: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar


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It's official! Nitish splits with BJP, trust vote on Wednesday

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Though JD-U's decision comes a week after Modi's elevation in Goa, the party's National Council had a few months ago set a deadline of December asking the BJP to name its PM candidate.

The party has always made its aversion to Modi explicitly clear on a number of occasions. Kumar had three years cancelled a dinner with senior BJP leaders including L K Advani because of Modi's presence. When asked whether he was referring to Modi, Kumar said "those who understand have understood, those who don't are naive".

In an indirect reference to Modi's new appointment in BJP, Kumar said that there was no problem when the late Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitley were made campaign committee chiefs in the past. "Everybody knew what were our basic concerns," he said in an apparent reference his and his party's serious reservations over projecting Modi.

At his insistence, the BJP had taken out Modi from its list of campaigners in Bihar in elections.

In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 118 MLAs and BJP 91. The JD- U just needs four MLAs for a majority. Independents and 'others' account for six MLAs. The main Opposition RJD has 22 and Congress four.

The Bihar CM said there is a need to enlarge the umbrella of NDA by bringing in new allies if the alliance wanted to form the next government at the Centre.

"You want to form the government, but don't be under the misconception. No single party is going to get the majority. It requires 272 MPs to make somebody the Prime Minister.

"For that the NDA has to get more allies. If people think there is some wave or a storm is blowing in their favour, they are under a misconception," he said in another dig at Modi.

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Image: JD-U chief Sharad Yadav

Tags: Modi , BJP , NDA , Kumar , JD-U

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It's official! Nitish splits with BJP, trust vote on Wednesday

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Kumar met Governor Dnyandeo Yashwantrao Patil on Sunday afternoon and informed him that the government would now function without the BJP. A special session of the assembly will take place on Wednesday where the JD-U will have to prove its majority.

He explained to Patil the reasons for the split. The CM told the governor that a call had to be taken after the BJP ministers refused to quit the government despite the alliance breaking up.

Kumar, who has been vocal about his displeasure Modi's elevation in the BJP, convened a cabinet meeting at 11.30 am. The BJP ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, stayed away from the meet. There are 11 BJP ministers in the 29-member Bihar council of ministers.

"The cabinet meeting began without BJP ministers as they boycotted it. Only JD-U ministers are attending it," an official in the chief minister office said.

Bihar BJP president Mangal Pandey earlier told mediapersons that there was no meaning in attending the cabinet meeting. The party Bihar chief CP Thakur had said on Sunday morning, "It is clear that BJP ministers will resign and party is ready to sit in opposition."  

BJP ministers, state party President Mangal Pandey and other senior members held a meeting at Sushil Modi's house to plan future strategy. The sources said that the chief minister had called a meeting of cabinet to create a ground for sacking BJP ministers on the plea of their non-participation and send a recommendation to this effect to the governor.

The script of the separation of JD-U and BJP has been written after a crucial meeting between JD-U President Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar late on Sunday night.

 



Image: It is Gujarat CM Narendra Modi's elevation in the BJP that has miffed Nitish Kumar


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