Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday proved his majority in the state assembly, while the opposition BJP walked out of the house during the confidence vote.
Nearly a dozen rebel Janata Dal-United legislators, considered close to former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, voted in support of Nitish Kumar. Manjhi was not present in the assembly during the vote, citing ill health.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
Apparently convinced that the JD-U government has adequate support to win the trust vote, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Dal members walked out of the house. The BJP also accused Nitish Kumar of insulting Mahadalit leader Manjhi by removing him from the chief minister's post.
"There is no need to waste time to listen to reply of chief minister. We are walking out of the state assembly," Leader of Opposition Nandkishore Yadav said in the assembly.
Soon after Governor K.N. Tripathi concluded his address to the joint sitting of the state legislature, Nitish Kumar moved to seek trust vote. He sailed through with 140 votes in his favour and zero against.
In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators. The party has the support of 24 Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators, five of the Congress, two Independents and a CPI member. The BJP has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents.
Earlier, the JD-U's allies RJD and the Congress issued whips to their legislators to support Nitish Kumar during the confidence vote. The JD-U also issued similar whip to its assembly members.
Besides, the JD-U was supported by the Communist Party of India.
JD-U chief whip Sharavan Kumar, who is also the parliamentary affairs minister, said the whip was also applicable to the JD-U rebels led by Manjhi.
"Any legislator, including Manjhi and rebel party legislators, found voting against the whip will lose membership of the state assembly," Sharavan said.
Nitish Kumar last year resigned as chief minister after the JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls. Manjhi, who was made chief minister in May 2014, resigned on February 20 after a political crisis.