With uncertainty threatening Bihar’s ruling coalition, most Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers including Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi skipped office for a second straight day yesterday. “Not a single BJP minister attended office today. It is a clear sign of tension in the ministry,” an informed source said.
There are 11 BJP ministers in the Nitish Kumar-led government dominated by the Janata Dal-United (JD-U). Relations between the two hit a low after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came out publicly against his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi. The JD-U also expressed unhappiness over BJP leader LK Advani’s decision to give up key party posts. BJP leaders have accused the JD-U of interfering in BJP’s internal affairs.
Meanwhile, the BJP has called a meeting of party leaders at Modi’s residence to discuss the strained ties between the BJP and JD-U, which have been allies for 17 long years. “It is an emergency situation, so more meetings would be held to chalk out a strategy,” BJP’s CP Thakur said.
The JD-U is believed to be gearing up for life without the BJP. According to JD-U leaders, the party is in touch with over a dozen BJP legislators including ministers. There was some good news for the JD-U though. Four of the six independent legislators have announced their support to the government. Even the Congress, with its four legislators, is likely to support Nitish Kumar if he dumps the BJP. The JD-U has 118 legislators, four short of majority in the house of 243 members. The party will today discuss the issue of continuing its alliance with the BJP.