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Bihar game plan: Gone in 40 hours and in Lalu’s absence

After cancelling a flight ticket earlier in the day, Prasad had no choice but to take the 8-hour road journey at night to be at the court hearing.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 29, 2017, 02.26 PM IST
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Prasad’s absence in that meeting was a big setback, political sources say.
Prasad’s absence in that meeting was a big setback, political sources say.
NEW DELHI: Moving with military precision, BJP did not take a single misstep in forming the government in Bihar with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) – proving their majority on the floor of the house within 40 hoursof Kumar resigning as the chief minister. The most important factor into this was the all-important night of Wednesday when Lalu Prasad was absent from Patna. He left at 9 pm for Ranchi by road to attend to his fodder scam case hearing the next morning after Kumar resigned at 7 PM. By 9 PM though, BJP had already taken a decision to join the Nitish government.

After cancelling a flight ticket earlier in the day, Prasad had no choice but to take the 8-hour road journey at night to be at the court hearing. Soon after Prasad’s departure, Sushil Modi and BJP MLAs reached Kumar’s house to elect him as their leader. Kumar served a saavan dinner and then Kumar and Modi met Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi at 11:30 pm, handing over letter of support of 131 MLAs – a number that stood good till Thursday’s trust vote win.

Tejashwi Yadav, a relative political greenhorn, was left alone to rush to the governor that night at 2 AM when Prasad heard en route to Ranchi that the governor gave Kumar a time of 10 AM for the swearing-in the next morning. “Prasad expected Kumar-BJP to move but not that soon,” an RJD insider said.

“He called up Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Yadav late in the night from his vehicle to discuss the evolving situation with them. Congress Bihar president Ashok Chaudhary was in Delhi and Prasad asked Sonia to rush him to Patna, fearing Nitish may wean away Congress MLAs. Around 1 AM, he asked Tejashwi to march to governor’s house and impress upon him that RJD-Congress have the numbers,” the person said.

The RJD camp was taking it easy till then as they had earlier got an 11 Aam appointment with the governor for Thursday. But the same was made redundant by Kumar and Sushil Modi’smidnight meeting with Tripathi. The governor was further not impressed with Tejashwi’s claim of having the numbers when the latter met him with a fourmember RJD delegation at 2:30 AM. The governor told Tejashwi Yadav that the swearing-in time cannot be changed, but 48 hours had been given to JD(U)-BJP to prove their numbers on the floor of the house.

Prasad’s absence in that meeting was a big setback, political sources say. JD(U)-BJP chose to prove their numbers on Friday itself instead of taking 48 hours. Most o of Thursday, Prasad was away in Ranchi at a time when RJD was trying hard to wean away JD(U) MLAs ahead of the vote. By the time he reached his 10, Circular Road residence on Thursday evening, the game was long over.

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