PATNA: The newly-formed 'Mahagathbandhan' government in Bihar on Wednesday comfortably won the motion of confidence amid a walkout staged by MLAs of the BJP -- which has been stripped of power as a result of the recent political upheaval in the state.
Deputy Speaker Maheshwar Hazari ordered a headcount upon a request by Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, the parliamentary affairs minister, who said that though a voice vote had clearly showed support of the majority, the count would “leave no room for any confusion”.
Altogether 160 MLAs voted in favour of the confidence motion while no vote was cast against the same.
The lone MLA of AIMIM, Akhtarul Iman, whose party is not a part of the ruling alliance, also took part in the exercise and supported the confidence motion.
Some of the BJP MLAs, who had staged a walkout while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was delivering his speech, stormed the House demanding that the deputy speaker not waste time on a redundant headcount but take up businesses scheduled for the day and announced boycott of the proceedings.
Proceedings were, subsequently, adjourned till Friday by the deputy speaker who also informed the House that on Thursday nomination papers will be filed for election of a new speaker, the post having fallen vacant upon resignation of BJP’s Vijay Kumar Sinha.
In his speech that lasted for about half an hour, Nitish Kumar made indirect references to rebellion by LJP’s Chirag Paswan, allegedly at BJP’s behest, and attempts to cause a split in JD(U) through his former protege RCP Singh.
Kumar asserted that he had ''no personal ambitions'', rejecting the BJP’s charge that his latest volte face was aimed at becoming the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition camp.
He, nonetheless, spoke of his interactions with leaders from across the country whom he has urged to stay united for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The JD(U) leader also recounted his old association with the BJP and underscored the contrast between the current dispensation and the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
Without mentioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi by name, he said “the current dispensation does little except publicity ('prachar prasar')''. As BJP MLAs protested, he added, “Speak against me. May be this will earn you some rewards from your political bosses.''