Two weeks after rejoining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's government secured a vote of confidence (129-0) in the Bihar Assembly on Monday. The opposition staged a walkout during the Chief Minister's address, but the government still sought a division of votes after the Deputy Speaker passed the motion by voice vote. Voting occurred with only ruling MLAs present, and 129 votes (one more than their official tally of 128) were polled in the government's favor. The majority mark in the 243-member Assembly is 122.
Before the vote, two previously "missing" BJP MLAs, Bhagirathi Devi and Rashmi Verma, reappeared and joined the proceedings. Earlier, the Speaker and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Awadh Bihari Chaudhary was replaced by a 125-112 vote margin.
Three RJD members were surprisingly seen sitting on the ruling party benches, raising concerns about the party's unity. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav raised a point of order objecting to the presence of Prahlad Yadav, Neelam Devi, and Chetan Anand among the NDA members.
Last month, Nitish took oath as Bihar CM for the ninth time after leaving the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and the "INDIA" bloc to form a new government supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
During the trust vote, a no-confidence motion against Speaker Chaudhary, who refused to step down after his party lost power, was also taken up and passed.
Both the ruling and opposition parties held meetings before the vote. The JD(U) issued a three-line whip requiring all MLAs to be present.
Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister on January 28 after days of speculation, marking his second about-turn in less than 18 months. He then severed ties with the RJD and Congress, formed a government with BJP support, and took oath as CM for the ninth time.
CM Heckled by Opposition MLAs During Assembly Address:
Nitish Kumar faced repeated interruptions during his address before the vote. He snapped at opposition MPs, asking, "What has gotten into you? Don't want to listen? Then let's have the voting directly."
Nitish justified his resignation by saying the state of affairs under the Mahagathbandhan wasn't right. He claimed to have received advice from various sources, including party workers, leading to his decision. He declared his return to the NDA as permanent.
"All development work will continue. We are against no one. I proposed forming a central-level alliance, but when nothing happened and learned Lalu ji was involved, I returned to where I belong. Now that I'm here, I'll stay here for good," Nitish said.
Nitish Reminds Opposition of 'Jungle Raj':
Addressing the Assembly, Nitish reminded the opposition of the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD's rule, when people feared venturing out. He faced jeers from opposition legislators.
Tejashwi Yadav's Attack on Nitish Kumar:
Before the floor test, former Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav criticized Nitish Kumar's move back to the NDA. He said, "We will always respect CM Nitish Kumar... When you came out of Raj Bhavan after resigning, you said 'Mann nhi lag raha tha' (Wasn't feeling good), hum log nachne gaane ke liye thode hai (We are not for dancing and singing)...we were there to support you..."
Yadav criticized the recent Bharat Ratna awards and took a dig at Nitish, comparing him to Raja Dashrath, who reluctantly exiled Lord Ram.
NDA receives support from 129 MLAs, one more than its total of 128, Three RJD MLAs swap sides before of the floor test.
Two'missing' BJP MLAs resurface minutes ago and enter in Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav claims, 'BJP has made Bharat Ratna a deal'
The trust vote result sparked speculation as the NDA received more votes than its official MLA count. While Nitish initially claimed 127 supporters, only 125 were expected to be present. However, the final tally showed 129 votes in favor, raising questions about potential defections or voting irregularities.