Bihar: Nitish wins trust vote, Tejashwi critics’ hearts

In an action-packed day in the Bihar Assembly, the BJP-JDU coalition managed to win the trust vote with 129 votes (122 were required) after an opposition walkout

Tejashwi Yadav (left) with Nitish Kumar at a government event in January 2024 (photo: @yadavtejashwi/X)
Tejashwi Yadav (left) with Nitish Kumar at a government event in January 2024 (photo: @yadavtejashwi/X)

Shalini Sahay

As expected, Nitish Kumar, who had the backing of 128 MLAs in the Assembly, won the trust vote by 129 votes (some reports say 130) but not without much drama in the House and outside. While two RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) MLAs switched sides to the treasury benches, at least one JDU (Janata Dal United) MLA was said to have been detained by state police overnight in Nalanda and brought to the House under police escort.

It was, however, former deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who stole the show with a stellar speech in which he mocked the treasury bench, saying, “You take such pride in Modi’s guarantee, can you guarantee that chief minister Nitish Kumar will not switch sides again?”

The day had started with the governor’s address, in which he listed the various achievements of the government, including "giving 3.5 lakh jobs since 2020" when the BJP-JDU coalition was in power in the state.

A no confidence motion was passed against the speaker, RJD MLA Avadh Bihari Chaudhary, which received 125 votes.

The trust vote took place two weeks after Nitish Kumar jumped ship for the third time since 2020. During the day, reports suggested that three RJD MLAs (Prahlad Yadav, Neelam Devi and Chetan Anand) had switched over to the NDA bloc.

Speaking in the Assembly, Nitish Kumar said the RJD was trying to take credit for the initiatives he had started. He also alleged that for 15 years, the Lalu Prasad-Rabri Devi governments had done nothing for the state’s development until he wrested power in 2005. RJD chiefs Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi had 15 years to work for the state "before I was elected in 2005. The contrast is now visible", he added.

Although the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of the RJD-Congress-Left lost the trust vote, Tejashwi exuded confidence and promised that what his ‘uncle’ Nitish Kumar had failed to do was what he would deliver by stopping "Modi ji’s juggernaut" in Bihar.

Here are some excerpts from his speech:

  • In 2020, the NDA narrowly won the election and the margin of difference were just 12,000 votes. People in the state are once again keen to know, Nitish ji, why you abandoned the BJP and joined hands with us in 2022

  • Mukhya Mantri (chief minister) ji, you had told us that the BJP was trying to break your party and that you were feeling stifled. You had said you had no ambition of becoming the PM or CM but that you just wanted to bring together the opposition and stop the march of the tanashah (dictator)

  • But when you went to the Raj Bhavan on 28 January to resign, you explained after coming out that you no longer had your heart in the opposition coalition — mann nahi lag raha tha — did you think we were together to humour you?

  • During the election campaign in 2020, I had prioritised jobs and had promised that we would fill vacancies and ensure half a million jobs. You had mocked us then and wanted to know from where the money would come, whether I would bring the money from my father or from jail. But within 17 months of being in the coalition, we fulfilled the promise and filled up 3.5 lakh vacancies. 

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