Nitish calls for Oppn unity after 'BJP's coup'

New Delhi, Sep 3
A day after five of six MLAs of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) in Manipur joined the ruling BJP, a war of words over each other's political decimation has ensued between the for-mer coalition partners. Bihar BJP MP and Nitish Kumar's former long time deputy Sushil Kumar Modi last night taunted the JD(U) over its MLA switching sides, and said the party will collapse in Bihar as well very soon.
"After Arunachal, Mani-pur is also JDU free. Very soon Laluji will make Bihar also JDU free," he tweeted in Hindi.
Mr Kumar's close aide and JD(U) national President Rajiv Ranjan Singh then hit back, asking Mr Modi not to "daydream" and dared him that the BJP would be wiped out in 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He accused the BJP of not adher- ing to coalition "dharma" in Arunachal Pradesh, where all seven of its MLAs have now merged with the ruling party, and pointed out that PM Modi after 42 rallies could win only 53 seats in the 243-strong Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 2015. He accused the BJP of breaking off his party MLAs through coercion.
"Want to remind you that both in Arunachal and Mani-pur, JD(U) won seats by defeating @BJP4India. So don't daydream of liberation from JD(U). Was what happened in Arunachal Pradesh because of your adherence to the alliance commitment?" he tweeted in Hindi.
In another tweet, he added, "...and once again in Manipur @BJP4India's moral conduct is in front of everyone. You must remember that in 2015, the Prime Minister held 42 meetings, only then 53 seats could be won. In 2024, the country will be free from jumle-baajs....just wait."
Speaking to reporters, Mr Singh said the Centre's actions in Opposition ruled States like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Jharkhand show the BJP's fear and desperation regarding 2024. "What they did in Maharashtra and MP, tried to do in Delhi, and are doing in Jharkhand now will have repercussions around the country," he said, referring to recent action by central agencies which many have described as political vendetta.
Asked if it could happen in Bihar as well, he said there's politics in every vein of the State and nothing would happen here. "They were trying to do that through an agent in our party, nothing happened," he said.
He also claimed what happened in Manipur was due to "money power".
Referring to PM Modi's recent allegation that Opposition parties were in a huddle to protect the corrupt, the JD(U) chief taunted "what BJP is doing to other parties is 'sadachar' but a joint fight against its brazen use of money power is 'bhrashtachar'. The Prime Minister has redefined these terms".
Nitish Kumar said all the six Manipur MLAs had visited him in Bihar and expressed happiness over the JD(U) ditching the BJP-led NDA.
"Just imagine what's happening. How they are breaking off MLAs who won from other parties. When we were in NDA, they (BJP) gave our MLAs nothing. Now they have been won over. What is this nature? What sort of act is this? Has anything like this been happening since before? This is a new thing," he said while talking to reporters at the party office in Patna, where a two-day national conclave is underway. He questioned the propriety and constitutionality of the alleged poaching by his former ally.
"If all Opposition parties join forces then the people's mandate will be very good," he added, in a call for a united front against the BJP.
On reports that he will be visiting Delhi in the next few days to meet top leaders and explore the prospects of Opposition unity, Mr Kumar confirmed it but did not divulge details.
Weeks after the JD(U) broke off an alliance with the BJP for the second time in nine years in Bihar, five of its six MLAs in Manipur joined the ruling BJP on Friday. Since the number of MLAs who switched sides was greater than two thirds of the total, their crossing over was considered valid.
In 2020, six of seven JD(U) legislators had joined the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh, and last week its lone MLA in the northeastern state also crossed over to the BJP.
The JD(U) had won six of the 38 constituencies it had contested in the assembly elections held in March this year. The MLAs who joined the BJP are Khumukcham Joykisan Singh, Ngursanglur Sanate, Md Achab Uddin, former DGP LM Khaute, and Thangjam Arunkumar. NDTV