Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday broke silence post his abrupt departure from the Grand Alliance, wherein he attacked RJD chief and former ally Lalu Prasad Yadav. In his ten-minute speech in the Bihar Assembly, Nitish lambasted those, hinting primarily at Lalu, who had criticised his move to side with the BJP. “People (the opposition) should not teach me lessons in secularism. Secularism is to be practised. I cannot be with people who commit the sin of amassing property through corrupt means while hiding behind the shield of secularism,” he said, in apparent reference to Lalu and his involvement in the ongoing wrongful amassment of property case going on against him and some members of his family.
Nitish also did not remain silent on corruption charges against Deputy CM and Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav, a matter he had earlier claimed was the major bone of contention behind him stepping away from office and cutting the alliance short. “I asked him (Tejashwi) to explain his position on graft allegations against him, but he was not in a position to respond.”
Nitish won the crucial trust vote by 131-108 in the state Assembly on Friday after an intense debate over his decision to shift allegiances. The result of the trust vote had been apparent from the beginning, however, as government enjoys a numerically advantageous support in the House.
Out of the 243 members, four could not vote, bringing the number to 239. Nitish needed 120 votes to prove his government’s reinstatement.
Tejashwi Yadav had, earlier in the session, had lashed out at Nitish, saying that the JD(U) leader betrayed the people of the state by siding with the BJP. He repeated the word “dhokha” numerous times to define Nitish’s decision to forgo the multi-party tie-up. He also said that the CM used him as an end to his means. “Nitish Kumar made me a ‘mohra’ (pawn) to build his image. The entire action (of seeking his resignation) was just an excuse so he could go with BJP.”