Patna: Backed by RJD, Congress, CPI and one Independent MLAs, the Nitish Kumar government today comfortably won confidence vote in the Bihar Assembly amid walk out by the opposition BJP. While a total of 140 members voted in favour of the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, there was no vote against it, Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary announced in the Assembly.
The confidence vote was first approved by voice vote and then on insistence of the government, which had the backing of RJD, Congress, CPI and an Independent, division was taken up. Altogether 109 JD(U) MLAs except for Jitan Ram Manjhi, 24 of RJD, 5 of Congress, one of CPI and an Independent totalling 140 voted in favour of the government.
All rebel JD(U) MLAs except for Manjhi fell in line to avoid being disqualified by violating whip and voted for Nitish Kumar ministry. BJP, which has 87 members, walked out of the House beforehand and did not take part either in voice vote or division.
Bihar Assembly has an effective strength of 233 at present with 10 vacancies. Manjhi skipped the House after raising question how whip is applicable on an unattached member.
The confidence motion was put to vote after nearly four hours of debate after inaugural speech given by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to the joint session of the Bihar Legislature. The debate on motion presented by the chief minister went without lunch break. After speech of the chief minister, the Speaker first ordered voice vote and then on insistence of Vijay Chaudhary, who is leader of JD(U) Legislature party in Assembly and also of RJD Legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, ordered for a lobby division.
At the end of the division which took about half-an hour, the Speaker announced 140 MLAs of JD(U), RJD, Congress, one CPI and an Independent signed a register in ‘yes lobby’ while there was no visitor to ‘no lobby’. Later, Chaudhary told reporters outside the Assembly that lobby division had given a resounding message that all MLAs of JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI and an Independent were with the Nitish Kumar government.
“This exposed BJP’s claim that many MLAs are against the government,” he added. The debate on confidence motion was marked with acrimonious exchange between treasury bench and opposition BJP. The Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav while opposing the trust vote questioned Nitish Kumar’s bonding with RJD of Lalu Prasad to stick to power. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar while replying to the debate made scathing attack at BJP saying their game plan (by supporting Manjhi) had been foiled due to unity of JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI and an Independent.