Both the ruling alliance National Democratic Alliance and the Grand Alliance in Bihar are concerned about the loyalties of their MLAs before the confidence motion that is scheduled for February 12.
All JDU MLAs have been asked to be present in Patna for a dinner scheduled at the home of minister Shravan kumar. Next day all have been asked to reach the home of minister vijay Chowdhary. This is being done, JUD sources said, to make sure that all MLAs are accounted for before the crucial vote and no surprise is sprung at the last moment which could be cross voting by its MLAs or MLAs failing to turn up in the assembly on the day of voting.
Sources said former CM and RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav has reached out to his old friends in the JDU and sought their support in defeating the NDA in the assembly hall.
Similarly, all BJP MLAs have been sent to Bodh Gaya and will stay there till 11 February evening and return on 11 night. The reason for their Gaya visit has been termed a ‘training program’. On Sunday, Home Minister Amit Shah will address these MLAs through video conference on Sunday morning. Gaya is considered as a BJP bastion and a region where the RJD does not have much clout or support.
Vinod Tawde, BJP incharge of Bihar, to ensure that no untoward incident happens on Monday, has been camping in Bihar since the last few days and keeping a close tab on MLAs through various means.
The Congress, on the other hand, has already sent its MLA to Hyderabad where it is in power.
As of now the NDA has 128 MLAs- BJP 78, JDU 45, HAM 4 and one Independent which is only 6 more than the magic number of 122 needed in the house of 243.
On the other hand, the opposition is stacked up at 115 MLAs with RJD having 79, Congress 19 and Left 16. One MLA is of AIMIM.
What has added more turns into the impending drama is the fact that Jitan Ram Manjhi, who is supporting the NDA with four MLAs, is unhappy with not being given more ministerial berths than the single ministry that was given to him by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
He has been claiming that he was offered the chair of Chief Minister and/or deputy CM by the Grand Alliance but chose to go with the NDA.
RJD leader and deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, too has made things more interesting by announcing that ‘play will happen’ (Khela hobe) on 12 March.
Earlier this week, JDU minister Shrwawan Kumar had stated that attempts were being made to break JDU MLAS.
However, even if Jitan Manjhi led HAM decides not to support the NDA, still the NDA will be at 124 MLAs, two more than then 122 mark.
The role of the speaker of the house, Awadh Bihari Chowdhary, is from the RJD and in a close contest, which will only arise if the NDA MLAs go missing or cross voting takes place, he is likely to use his chair’s power to give a decision in favour of the Grand Alliance.
However, in case this is done by the speaker, according to political observers, the Governor is likely to recommend a President’s rule in the state and call for elections that will coincide with the Lok Sabha polls.