JD-U's formal split with the NDA seems imminent as JD(U) president Sharad Yadav arrives here tomorrow for a crucial meeting with party legislators to discuss the issue, amidst reports that BJP MLAs are being poached by the party to cobble up a majority.
"Sharad Yadav ji is coming to Patna tomorrow morning," Bihar JD(U) president Bashist Narayan Singh told PTI. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would also be back here tonight from his Katihar "Sewa Yatra".
The Bihar JD(U) chief said that the timing and venue of the 'discussion' over the situation arising from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's appointment as the chairman of the BJP's campaign committee chief for 2014 Lok Sabha polls would be decided later.
Unconfirmed reports have surfaced here that Nitish Kumar's party are making efforts to wean away a section of BJP MLAs to get the required numbers for continuation of the government minus the BJP.
The reports were dismissed by both JD(U) and BJP leaders as mere "kite flying".
"We require support of just four MLAs for running the government minus BJP. So why will we do all these things (poaching BJP legislators)," state JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan told PTI.
State NDA convenor and senior BJP minister Nand Kishore Yadav said, "It is absolutely not possible."
"Is it possible to ferret away such a large number of MLAs from BJP to escape anti-defection law?" Yadav wondered.
BJP has 91 members in the current 243-member Assembly.
BJP leaders would be meeting at the residence of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi at 3 pm today to review the political situation.
Sources said that some JD(U) leaders were targetting BJP MLAs who had won with the votes of Muslims, OBC and EBC on the prodding of Nitish Kumar in the 2010 polls.
They said that similar attempts were made in recent the past too, but they failed to sway the targetted MLAs when attention of senior JD(U) leaders were drawn by top state BJP leaders.
Meanwhile, senior BJP minister Giriraj Singh, who is in Gujarat, today said if the JD(U) broke alliance with the BJP, it would be their moral duty to seek a fresh mandate from voters.
"12 crore people of Bihar have voted JD(U) and BJP coalition to power...anybody who breaks this trust of people has the moral duty to seek a fresh mandate from voters," Giriraj Singh, who was on way to Somnath temple in Gujarat, told PTI over phone.
Independent MLA from Sikta in West Champaran Dilip Verma said district JD(U) chief had lured him with ministerial berth and ticket to the next Lok Sabha elections for supporting the Nitish Kumar government.
He, however, said he refused the offer point blank.
"The country needs Narendra Modi today. Hence I will be with the BJP in case of a split in the NDA," Verma said.
There are six Independents in the Bihar Assembly.
According to reports four of them have pledged support to JD(U) in the event of split.
Besides Verma, a woman legislator Rashmi Jyoti from Dehri-on-Sone, whose husband Pradeep Joshi has a hinduavta leaning and who is in jail at present, has yet not committed support to the JD(U).
In the 243-member Bihar Assembly while JD(U) has 118 members including the Speaker Udai Narayan Chaudhary, BJP has 91 MLAs, RJD 22, Congress 4, CPI and LJP 1 each and Independents 6.
The BJP ministers including Sushil Kumar Modi have stopped attending office and disposing of official duty.
Meanwhile, a meeting had been called today at Modi's home which is likely to be attended by all ministers, state BJP President Mangal Pandey and state party office-bearers. BJP national Vice President C P Thakur would also be present.
Pandey told PTI, "We will take stock of the current situation in the meeting."