Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM received a major jolt Wednesday when four of the five MLAs of the party in Bihar joined the RJD, which has now regained its single-largest party status in the 243-member Assembly leaving behind the BJP.
Except for AIMIM state president and Amour MLA Akhtarul Iman, the four other party legislators—Muhammed Izhar Asfi (Kochadamam), Shahnawaz Alam (Jokihat), Syed Ruknuddin (Baisi) and Azhar Nayeemi (Bahadurgunj)—joined the RJD. Iman, a former RJD MLA, continues to owe his allegiance to Asaduddin Owaisi.
The RJD had 76 MLAs before the four AIMIM legislators joined it. The ruling BJP briefly enjoyed the position when all three MLAs of the Vikassheel Insaan Party joined it three months ago. The BJP has 77 MLAs.
Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav welcomed the four AIMIM MLAs to the RJD and said they would further strengthen it. “We firmly believe all the four MLAs would work towards our goal of social justice and secularism. We have always got the love of the people of Seemanchal. Our party again has a good presence in Seemanchal,” said Tejashwi.
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Though the RJD-led Grand Alliance now has 115 MLAs, including 19 of the Congress and 16 of CPI (ML) and the CPI, it is still seven short of the simple majority. On the other hand, the Nitish Kumar-led NDA is firmly placed with 127 MLAs. Even if former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) chooses to switch sides with its four MLAs, the Grand Alliance will still be short of the majority mark.
The single-largest party spot has, however, given a psychological boost to the RJD, which is ahead of the BJP now, showing the growing acceptance of Tejashwi’s leadership.
The AIMIM had created a flutter in political circles by winning five of the 20 seats it contested in the 2020 Bihar Assembly election. The party had made inroads into the Muslim-majority Seemanchal region consisting of four districts—Araria, Purnea, Katihar, and Kishanganj.
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