RJD claims Tejaswi will replace Nitish Kumar before August 15
The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) dropped a bombshell on Wednesday by claiming that its leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav will replace Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and hoist the national flag on Independence Day.
“Tejashwi will become the chief minister and hoist the national flag on August 15. Just keep watching what happens in the next few days. A new era will unfold on Independence Day,” said Bhai Virendra, RJD MLA and chief spokesperson of the state unit.
The statement added fuel to fire during the monsoon session of the Assembly and drew sharp reactions from the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Virendra said his assertion was based on the fact that smaller constituents of the NDA like former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular and animal husbandry and fisheries minister Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party have been openly voicing their dissatisfaction with their position.
Both the parties have four MLAs each in the 243-member Bihar Assembly. Though not a large figure, their strength becomes significant because the Nitish-led NDA government is in power with a thin majority. It has 126 legislators and the support of an independent MLA.
The Opposition Grand Alliance of the RJD, Congress and Left parties has 110 MLAs. Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM has five lawmakers while one seat is vacant.
In such a scenario, if Manjhi and Sahni’s parties withdraw support to the NDA or throw their lot with the Opposition alliance, it could spell doom for the ruling dispensation. The majority figure in the Assembly is 122.
The RJD is the largest party in the Assembly with 75 MLAs, and the imminent return of its national president Lalu Prasad to Patna is being eagerly awaited. The arrival of the master strategist and charismatic politician could create new political equations in Bihar, sources said.
Virendra’s statements came on a day the RJD boycotted the Question Hour of the Assembly session over its demand for Nitish’s apology and strict action against police officers for manhandling Opposition MLAs in the House on March 23 during the budget session while they were demanding withdrawal of the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021, which conferred unbridled powers to the police.
Many RJD legislators came wearing helmets to highlight the safety and security issues in the Assembly.
Nitish’s Janata Dal United (JDU) and the BJP dismissed the RJD’s claim and asserted that it was a ploy to save itself from a split.
“The RJD is living in illusion. This is the reason behind its wild claims. The people of Bihar have not forgotten the misrule and mayhem they had to suffer when the party was in power for 15 years,” JDU chief spokesperson and former minister Neeraj Kumar said.
BJP legislator Nawal Kishore Yadav claimed that the RJD was “making such nonsensical statements to ensure that its MLAs stay with it instead of crossing over to other parties”.