Four out of five MLAs of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in Bihar on Wednesday joined the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the presence of state Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav.
The four MLAs who joined the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led party are Mohammed Shahnawaz Alam, Mohammed Ansar Nayeemi, Mohammed Izhar Asfi and Syed Ruknuddin Ahmed. Tejashwi Yadav said that they joined his party as they were influenced by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s ideology, principles and policies aimed at public welfare.
With this, the RJD has regained the status of single largest party in Bihar with 80 legislators, according to The Hindu. The Bharatiya Janata Party has 77 MLAs in the Bihar Assembly.
In the state elections in 2020, the RJD had emerged as the single largest party with 75 seats. Its tally later rose to 76 after it won the bye-election to the Bochaha constituency in the Muzaffarpur district.
The BJP had won 74 seats in the elections, and its tally rose to 77 after three MLAs from the Vikassheel Insaan Party joined it in March. The saffron party formed the government in Bihar in alliance with the Janata Dal (United).
Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday welcomed the four AIMIM MLAs into his party and said that they will strengthen it, The Indian Express reported. “We firmly believe all the four MLAs would work towards our goal of social justice and secularism,” he said. “We have always got the love of the people of Seemanchal. Our party again has a good presence in Seemanchal.”
The RJD-led Grand Alliance now has 115 MLAs, while the BJP-JD(U) alliance has 127 MLAs.
After the developments on Wednesday, the only remaining AIMIM MLA in Bihar is the party’s state chief Akhtarul Imam. He described the MLAs who left his party as Mir Jafars – a reference to the 18-century military general who helped the British win the Battle of Plassey in 1757, PTI reported.
“I am committed towards the ideals for which our leader [Asaduddin] Owaisi sahib stands,” Imam said. “He has told me not to lose heart and treat the event like a flood that washes away filth while mountains stand strong.”
Meanwhile, Bihar BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand remarked that Owaisi was unable to keep his flock together but was trying to expand his party all over the country. “On one hand, Owaisi is directly and indirectly instigating Muslims to take part in fanaticism and terrorist activities, while on the other hand, four AIMIM MLAs have joined the RJD,” he said. “He can’t keep his own shop in order, but is trying to set up a market in the entire country.”