Finally putting all speculation to rest, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav on Sunday formally announced the end to the party’s 17-year-old alliance with the BJP giving a major jolt to the NDA, with the parliamentary elections only months away.
The Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) has been in power in Bihar for the last eight years with BJP support. The Chief Minister also sacked 11 BJP ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, charging them with not attending office for the last couple of days. Kumar and Yadav made the formal announcement before the media in Patna. Yadav said, “Now the situation has reached a point from where staying together has become impossible and so, we are moving out of the alliance.”
Yadav also resigned from the post of NDA convenor. “The BJP is going through a new phase. As long as there was no external interference in the Bihar alliance, it ran smoothly. Problems began when there was external interference,” Kumar said in an apparent reference to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi without naming him. “We can’t compromise on our basic principles, values and stand on core issues which are central to party ethos. Its total disregard and the ominous recent developments therefore compel the Janata Dal (U) to forthwith terminate and sever its present alliance with the BJP,” he said. Nitish elaborated the reasons behind parting ways with the long time ally.
“There was a rapid rise in the growing hegemonic control of a leadership that does not represent the characteristics which we had emphasised for the continuation of our alliance,” he claimed.
Earlier, Nitish called a special cabinet meeting in which no BJP minister participated. Kumar also met Governor D Y Patil and informed him that his party was no longer with the BJP. Kumar will seek a vote of confidence at a special Assembly session on Wednesday.
In the 243-member Assembly, the JD(U) has 118 MLAs and needs only four MLAs for a simple majority and four independents have indicated their support to it. The BJP with 91 MLAs would work as a powerful Opposition party. The current main Opposition, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD has 22 MLAs and the Congress four. Reacting to the JD(U) move, Sushil Modi organised a press conference and called it a black day in the country’s history. He accused JD(U) of vishwasghat (betrayal) and gave a call for Bihar bandh on Tuesday.
“The JD(U) not only betrayed us but broke the trust of the people,” he fumed. Modi added that Kumar should resign on moral grounds since he took oath as leader of the NDA. He was not just a JD(U) leader as the mandate to govern was in favour of the NDA and not just JD(U), he said.