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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

RJD regains ‘largest’ tag with AIMIM defections

Lalu Prasad's party now has 80 MLAs in 243-member Lower House, followed by BJP with 77

Dev Raj Patna Published 30.06.22, 01:43 AM
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad File Picture

The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) split Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM in Bihar on Wednesday, weaning away four of its five MLAs to re-emerge as the state’s single largest party by removing the ruling BJP.

The turn of events has spread cheer in the RJD camp as the AIMIM had contested 19 seats in a region considered the principal Opposition party’s stronghold in the closely fought 2020 Assembly elections, eating into votes and aiding the ruling JDU-BJP alliance.

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Nobody had any inkling about Wednesday’s development till MLAs Muhammad Izhar Asfi (Kochadhaman), Muhammad Shahnawaz (Jokihat), Syed Ruknuddin Ahmad (Baisi) and Muhammad Anzar Nayeemi (Bahadurganj) reached the chamber of the leader of the Opposition, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, on the Assembly premises.

“We are happy that the RJD has once again become the single-largest party in the Assembly with the arrival of the four MLAs from the AIMIM. Our party welcomes and accepts them in its fold,” Tejashwi said.

The RJD now has 80 MLAs in the 243-member Lower House, followed by the BJP with 77.

“We have come to strengthen the RJD after seeing the prevailing situation in the country. The people of our constituencies were also demanding that we go with the RJD for the sake of democracy and to counter the forces inimical to our society, Constitution and nation,” Shahnawaz told reporters.

The increase in the RJD’s seats is not expected to have an immediate impact on the NDA government in Bihar that has the support of 127 MLAs. But the Opposition Grand Alliance’s number has risen to 115 MLAs, further narrowing the gap in a House where 122 is the majority mark.

AIMIM Bihar president Akhtarul Iman, the only remaining AIMIM lawmaker in the state, accused the RJD of “buying the MLAs” and asserted that the voters would teach the party a lesson in the next polls.

The BJP downplayed the AIMIM split and said the NDA government would carry on smoothly in the state.

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