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Nitish Kumar wins trust vote after dumping BJP

Three days after he dumped the BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar proved his majority in the assembly yesterday and declared that his former ally won’t win the next Lok Sabha battle. Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of now trying to impose divisive politics, he said the politics of consultation which the BJP believed in under Atal Bihari Vajpayee had ended.


Nitish Kumar got the support of JD(U)’s 117 legislators, four independents, four of the Congress and the sole Communist Party of India member. File pic

In a speech in the assembly during a trust motion he moved to prove his majority, Nitish Kumar said India was built on secular foundations and his party would not tolerate anyone trying to cause religious divide. “The country should be run in a manner so as to take everyone along... Coalition governments are the norm now. No party should be under the false premise that they can run the country on their own steam,” he said.

“The work ethics of Atalji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was based on how to take everyone along, based on consultations... But now it has changed,” he added. Nitish Kumar sailed through with 126 votes in his favour after 91 BJP members and a Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) legislator walked out of the 243-member house before the voting. Criticising the BJP, with which his party split last week after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was made the party’s election campaign chief, Nitish Kumar said the BJP’s dream of ruling India would be shattered.

Modi barbs
He said the BJP had no chance to win the 2014 Lok Sabha election. “Even if we remained with them, notching up 200 seats would be difficult... Don’t be under the illusion that you can do it alone. This is the time of coalitions,” he said. Taking a dig at Modi’s Gujarat model of development, Nitish Kumar said: “What vikas (development) model is this where you improve areas that are already good? What kind of improvement is it?” He said the BJP had benefited by aligning with his Janata Dal-United.

“We will not tolerate thopna (imposition of views). We are for the policy of taking everyone along and against divisive policies,” he asserted. Nitish Kumar got the support of JD(U)’s 117 legislators, four independents, four of the Congress and the sole Communist Party of India member. One JD-U legislator is in jail. Those who voted against Nitish Kumar included 22 members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and two independents.

Soon after the JD(U) ended its 17-year-old alliance with the BJP on Sunday, Nitish Kumar said he would seek a vote of confidence at a special session of the assembly yesterday. Nitish Kumar called off the alliance and his colleague Sharad Yadav quit as convenor of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance following differences with the BJP over the growing clout of Modi.

Supported Nitish to keep communal BJP at bay: Cong
The Congress yesterday said it supported the JD(U) government in Bihar to ‘keep communal BJP at bay’, and endorsed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s view that CM Nitish Kumar was a secular person. “We supported the JD(U) government without any condition. We wanted to keep the communal forces at bay.

The BJP wanted to defeat the government,” said Congress spokesperson PC Chacko. “We endorse the PM’s view that Nitish is a secular person,” he said. According to the Congress, which is exploring an alliance with the JD(U) in Bihar ahead of the 2014 general elections, the decision to support the Nitish Kumar government was ‘unilateral’. “We do not expect anything in return,” Chacko said.

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