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Nitish Kumar wins trust vote, opposition cries foul

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar sailed through with 131 votes in his favour and 108 against.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 29, 2017, 01.36 AM IST
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Nitish Kumar wins trust vote in Bihar Assembly
Nitish Kumar wins trust vote in Bihar Assembly
PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar sailed through the floor test on Friday by securing 131 votes in his favour in the 243-member state assembly, but only after facing a strong new opposition that accused him of “betraying” people’s mandate. Under fire from RJD and Congress for breaking up the grand alliance and changing his partners, Kumar sought the confidence of the house on the plea that his decision to form government with BJP and its allies was in the interest of Bihar.

He highlighted his policy of zero tolerance against corruption and focus on good governance, and said he does not need a lesson on secularism. “Secularism has to do with ideology and it is not a cover-up for corruption,” Kumar told the house ahead of the trust vote, in a veiled attack on RJD leader Lalu Prasad who is presently fighting several court cases over the fodder scam. To highlight his commitment to secularism and transparency, the chief minister recalled the works undertaken by his government for the welfare of minority communities and women in the past. But the opposition tore into him, led by Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.

The former deputy chief minister, who is now the opposition leader, showed enough confidence to tackle his new political opponent and seasoned politician Kumar. His speech clearly indicated that he had done proper homework to play his new role in the house. Accusing Kumar of betraying the state, the junior Yadav said, “People of Bihar had given mandate in 2015 not for the BJP but for the grand alliance.”

Claiming that if Kumar had asked him to resign as deputy chief minister he would have done it immediately, Yadav said he suspected “everything was planned” for Kumar to join the BJP camp. The chief minister betrayed the people “on fake and flimsy charges made against me and my family”, he said.

He targeted Kumar, referring to the formation of four governments in four years. In a clear message to NDA camp that he would keep on reminding them about the promises Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made during his campaign for the 2015 Bihar assembly polls, Yadav said he expected special category status for Bihar in view of NDA rule in the state as well as the centre. BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who was sworn in as deputy chief minister on Friday, thanked Congress and RJD for giving BJP an opportunity to become a part of the ruling coalition in the state. “Had Tejashwi resigned, I would not have been here,” he told the house. BJP and JDU are now busy giving final shape to the list of new ministers in the new government. Sources said JDU may have 17 ministers in the government.

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