RJD President Lalu Prasad today won over three more rebel MLAs of his party and paraded all nine of them to the assembly petitioning the Speaker to cancel the notification "illegally recognising" the 13 rebel legislators as a separate group.
Prasad, who rushed here this morning from Delhi to bring his house in order after 13 of his MLAs gave a letter to the Speaker quitting RJD, hit the streets marching to the assembly, accompanied by the nine rebel MLAs and meeting the Speaker and riding a cycle rickshaw to the Raj Bhavan petitioning the Governor against the notification.
Prior to that, Prasad held an hour-long meeting with nine rebel MLAs who denied having defected from the party.
During the march to the assembly, some RJD workers pelted stones at the residence of Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary.
At the assembly, Prasad submitted individual letters of the nine MLAs accompanied by a letter from RJD Legislature Party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui to Secretary of Assembly Phool Jha as the Speaker was not present in his chamber.
Questioning the constitutionality of the assembly notification, Siddiqui said "If you read the notification it says that the 13 MLAs who are former members of RJD have been recognised as a separate group.
"When the party did not expel them or take any action against them, how come they have become former members of the party?" he said.
He said that as per anti-defection law, a splinter group could not be recognised as a separate group unless it merged with a party.
After visiting the assembly, Prasad rode a rickshaw to Raj Bhavan to petition Governor D Y Patil.
Later, addressing a press conference in the evening, Prasad, Siddiqui and vice-president Raghubansh Prasad Singh, alleged a conspiracy by chief minister Nitish Kumar with his 'handpicked' Speaker to break RJD.
The RJD chief alleged the Speaker was "acting as a toy in the hands of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and entered into a conspiracy with the CM to break my party".
In Delhi, Nitish Kumar dismissed suggestions that the Speaker worked to benefit JD(U) and said "this is not possible. The Speaker has been given certain powers by the Constitution and he alone can take decisions in certain matters. This is what happened in this issue as well. Nobody can pressurise him," he said.
Kumar said there were differences in RJD and the party "is on the verge of a split".
"As far as JD(U) stand is concerned, if people come to us, we will welcome them", he added.
Prasad congratulated the nine MLAs for not falling into the trap of a ministerial berth and money allegedly offered by Kumar.
"I will tell people of the constituencies of these MLAs that they have not done anything wrong," the party chief said.
Prasad claimed Raghvendra Pratap Singh, the MLA who was among the four absentee legislators, talked to him over telephone and asserted being with the party.
Siddiqui said he would issue show cause to four absentee MLAs to clarify their position within a week.
"If their reply is not found satisfactory, the party will act against them," he said.
Denying any wrongdoing, the Speaker said "the Assembly Secretariat action is lawful."
Some of the 9 RJD MLAs, who returned to party, accused Chief whip Samrat Chaudhary, at whose house the rebels had met yesterday to announce leaving the party, with perpetrating fraud with their signatures.
Prasad claimed "it's true that MLAs and MPs sign on papers for allotment of gas cylinder or other purposes."
But Samrat Chaudhary denied it and claimed that the signatures were genuine. He alleged some MLAs backtracked under 'pressure'.