The Rashtriya Janata Dal suffered a major setback on Monday as it was reported that 13 of its 22 legislators deserted the party and committed support to the Nitish Kumar government. However, six of them later strongly refuted their involvement in any such move.
The six legislators alleged that their signatures had been forged and they never left their party. They said it was a conspiracy designed by the current Nitish Kumar government.
The six MLAs — Akhtarul Islam Shahi, Dr Faiyaz Ahmed, Abdul Gafoor, Chandrashekhar, Durga Prasad Rai and Lalit Yadav — claimed that they were loyal to their party.
“It was an act of fraud we have not signed any document related to deserting our party,” said Abdul Gafoor, who was one of the six MLAs present at the press conference. “The move was supported by Nitish Kumar as he is currently heading a minority government and is desperate to engineer defections in RJD,” said Abdul Bari Siddiqui, RJD leader in the State assembly.
He also said, further course of action would be decided at a meeting of party legislators on Tuesday . “For defection the required two-third number is 15, so the members will automatically lose their assembly membership if they defect,” Siddiqui warned dissidents.
Earlier, RJD legislator Javed Iqbal Ansari said 13 MLAs wrote to the Speaker about their withdrawal from RJD and support to the Janata Dal(U) government. The list included Samrat Chaudhary, Raghvendra Pratap Singh, Durga Prasad Singh, Lalit Yadav, Anirudh Kumar, Jeetendra Rai, Akhtar-ul-Islam Sahin, Akhtar-ul-Iman, Abdul Gafood, Faiyazz, Javed Iqbal Ansari, Ram Lakhan Ram Raman and Chandrasekhar. The dissident leader Samrat Chaudhary, who flew with Nitish Kumar on Sunday to inaugurate a bridge, said Lalu Prasad had turned his party into the ‘B team’ of Congress in the last three months.
The move also jolted Nitish Kumar, whose party was left with 116 MLAs in the Assembly of 243.