NDA’s strength in Rajya Sabha reduces

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The NDA did not have a majority when Kumar’s JD(U) was part of the alliance. Now the NDA is 10 short of the halfway mark…reports Asian Lite News

BJP-led NDA’s strength further reduced in the Rajya Sabha after Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) left the alliance and formed a government in Bihar with RJD and others.

Kumar’s JD(U) has five members in the House, including Vice-Chairman Harivansh.

The strength of Rajya Sabha is 237 and there are eight vacancies which include four from Jammu and Kashmir, one from Tripura and three to be nominated. The halfway mark is 119 in the House and the ruling NDA strength was 114, which includes five nominated MPs, one independent and five JD(U).

The NDA did not have a majority when Kumar’s JD(U) was part of the alliance. After the JD(U) left the alliance, the NDA’s number was reduced to 109 from 114. Now the NDA is 10 short of the halfway mark.

The BJP, which is in power in the state, will win Tripura whenever an election is held and the government can nominate three more members. The NDA’s strength will go up to 113, which is still short of the halfway mark.

The ruling alliance will need support of smaller parties like BJD and YSRCP to pass the crucial bill in the Upper House. Both the BJD and YSRCP have nine members each, while the BJP has 91 members.

During recent President and Vice-President polls, the ruling alliance got support from the BJD, YSRC, TDP, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BSP apart from NDA partners.

After SAD and Shiv Sena, JD(U) became the third party to leave the NDA. The TDP had left the NDA before the 2019 general elections.

While in opposition parties, Congress is the largest party with 31 members in the Rajya Sabha followed by TMC with 13 members.

The DMC and AAP have 10 members each.

‘BJP broke pact’

After formation of the new Mahahgatbandhan government in Bihar, Janata Dal-United national President Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh slammed the BJP for accusing his party of violating the coalition pact.

“We have not violated any coalition pact. It was the BJP who violated the coalition pact and cheated the JD-U. After the 2022 Arunachal Pradesh Assembly election, we had seven MLAs and BJP broke away six and merged them with the party. That was the violation of the coalition pact despite the JD-U being in NDA,” he said.

“During the 2020 Bihar Assembly election, our ground-level workers helped BJP candidates in winning the election but the BJP withdraw their ground level workers in the constituencies where JD-U candidates were contesting. Moreover, the BJP sent many candidates to contest election for the Lok Janshakti Party against JD-U candidates and cut their vote. After LJP candidates lost the election, they were brought back in the BJP. That was the violation of the coalition pact,” he claimed.

“On Tuesday, our leader Nitish Kumar called a meeting where MLAs have pointed out how the BJP played a negative role against them during the 2020 Assembly election. Many of the JD-U candidates lost the election while they were lucky to win the election in difficult circumstances, the MLAs told the Chief Minister,” Lalan Singh added.

“Due to the back-stabbing of the BJP, we fell to 43 seats. After the formation of the government in 2020, the BJP put ‘chutbhaiye netas (small-time leaders) forward to give statements against Nitish Kumar and humiliate him. Those chutbhaiye netas used to say that the BJP is an elder brother and the JD-U is the younger brother in the government. I want to tell them that in 2005, the seats of the JD-U were 88, and 118 in 2010. We had 69 seats in 2015 and when we went with the BJP in 2017, we were the bigger party as the BJP had only 53 seats. We never told them that we are the elder brother and the BJP is the junior partner in the government,” he said.

He noted that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was formed in 1996 “and at that time, respected Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and George Fernandes were the leaders. The JD-U was associated with NDA for next 17 years and not separated for 17 seconds. The reason was Atal ji, Advani ji, M.M. Joshi ji, and George Sahab were respecting coalition partners. Those leaders had principles to respect the coalition partners.

“And what has happened now… BJP is back-stabbing its coalition partners.”

The JD-U chief also said that during the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP was wanting to win the polls and “hence, its leaders did not do mischief”.

“When it came to the 2020 Assembly elections, what they did was to backstab us and weaken us,” he said.

Hitting out further at the BJP, he said: “At present, the BJP has 303 seats in Lok Sabha including 16 from West Bengal and 17 from Bihar. I firmly believe that the BJP would hardly win a single seat from West Bengal. The situation in Bihar from now on is similar for them as well. The majority level required in Lok Sabha is 272 and if we minus 33 seats from these two states, the BJP will fall below the majority level. Then, we will see how they (BJP leaders) would run a dictatorship in the country.”

“At present, there are so many challenges in the country like unemployment and price rise and the BJP is responsible for it. There were 3 lakh youths who passed the physical examinations of the Army in 2019 but the Centre had not given appointment letters. Now, they have come up with an Agniveer scheme to give youth a job of 4 years. A leader of the BJP named (Kailash) Vijayvargiya said they will give jobs of security guards in BJP offices to Agniveers after their retirement. You are forcing youths to become jobless and roam on the streets,” Lalan Singh said.

On prospects of ED, CBI, and income tax raids, he asserted that they are not “frightened”.

“We are not industrialists. Our source of income is our salaries, rent of our houses and farming. Do whatever they want, we are not afraid of it.”

Lalan Singh also defended RJD leader and new Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav as well. He said that the charge sheet of the IRCTC scam was filed in 2017 but trial had not started yet. “Why don’t they (BJP) start the trial?” he said.

Following recent statements by BJP leaders Sushil Kumar MOdi and Ravi Shankar Prasad, he said that these two leaders “are his good friends”.

“Sushil is also a good friend of Nitish Kumar. If these two leaders would get rehabilitated for attacking Chief the Minister, we would not mind it. These two leaders are currently unemployed in the BJP,” he said.

“I heard (former JD-U) leader R.C.P. Singh is also saying that Nitish Kumar cheated the BJP. During the 2020 Assembly election, the BJP used Chirag model and this time, R.C.P. Singh. Nitish Kumar trusted him and he was sent to the Rajya Sabha twice. He (Nitish Kumar) also left the national President’s post and handed it over to him (Singh) but he played like an agent of BJP to weaken JD-U. Nitish Kumar spotted him and threw out from the party,” he added.

Nitish to prove majority on Aug 24

After taking the oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the eighth time, Nitish Kumar called for first cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

In the meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish Kumar passed a proposal to call a special session of the Assembly on August 24 – for him to prove his majority – and the Legislative Council on August 25.

Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan has been intimated of the proposal and his approval is awaited.

Leaders of the Mahagathbandhan also brought in a no-confidence motion against Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha, of the BJP. Since he just has support of just 77 MLAs of his own party, it is most likely that he would resign from the post before motion.

RJD’s Awadh Bihari Chaudhary is the front runner for the post.

On August 25, the Legislative Council will elect a new Chairman as well.

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