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With AIMIM MLAs in fold, RJD on a roll as it eyes Agnipath and Seemanchal

RJD has again emerged as the single-largest party with 80 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly as four of the AIMIM’s total five MLAs joined its fold Wednesday, boosting the Opposition party’s presence in the Seemanchal region in east Bihar.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: July 1, 2022 7:40:11 am
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav interacts with AIMIM MLAs Shahnawaz, Mo. Anzar Naimi, Muhammad Izhar Asafi and Syed Ruknuddin Ahmed after they joined RJD, during a meeting. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is also seen. (PTI Photo)

The Lalu Prasad-headed RJD, which is now effectively led by his son and Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, seems to be gaining ground on various fronts in Bihar politics lately.

It has again emerged as the single-largest party with 80 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly as four of the AIMIM’s total five MLAs joined its fold Wednesday, which has also boosted the principal Opposition party’s presence in the Seemanchal region in east Bihar. Highlighting these points, Tejashwi said, “In the 2020 Assembly polls, people had given us the honour of becoming the single largest party with 75 seats. After all three VIP MLAs joined BJP recently, it became the single largest party but we have again achieved primacy in the House with 80 seats.”

The RJD has currently adopted a two-pronged strategy towards the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government comprising of the JD(U) and the senior partner BJP as major constituents. While the party has backed the Nitish-led JD(U) on issues like the caste census, it has decided to go after the BJP over the saffron party-led Centre’s Agnipath short-term soldiers’ recruitment scheme in a bid to reach out to the larger constituency of discontented unemployed youths.

The current monsoon session of the Bihar Assembly has seen Tejashwi holding sway over the RJD’s demand for a debate on the Agnipath scheme in the House. With the Speaker Vinay Kumar Sinha not conceding it, the party’s MLAs have been stalling the Assembly proceedings right from the start of the session last week. They have not allowed even the crucial Question Hour to run properly as barely 20 questions could be taken up by the House so far, with the session, scheduled to end on Friday, going to be completely washed out.

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The RJD MLAs also held a mock Assembly session outside its premises by selecting its senior leader Ramchandra Purve as their “Speaker”.

The BJP might have bought peace with Nitish even though the JD(U) flayed Agnipath, the RJD is going all out to put the Bihar BJP on the back foot over the scheme row.

In the Assembly, the Speaker has urged the Opposition members to take part in the House proceedings, although the Chair has so far not given any assurance of holding debate on Agnipath. The JD(U) remains non-committal on the matter, taking an equidistant position from both the RJD and the BJP.

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With four AIMIM MLAs on board, the RJD-led grand alliance now accounts for 115 MLAs, just seven short of a simple majority. It has also expanded its footprint in Seemanchal comprising of districts such as Purnea, Araria and Kishanganj, as the constituencies of all the defectors are in this region. There had been a period when the RJD had dominance in the region because of its veteran like Mohammed Taslimuddin, who represented Kishanganj and Araria for a long time. The stage is now set for a pitched battle of supremacy between the BJP and the RJD in Seemanchal again.

The NDA government does not face any immediate threat to its continuance as it has 127 MLAs, but the onus will be on Nitish to keep his flock together with the RJD-led Opposition alliance being expected to continue breathing down its neck due to their standing within a striking distance of the majority mark.

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First published on: 30-06-2022 at 02:53:54 pm

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