The Rashtriya Janata Dal on Monday said it was ready to form a government in Bihar with Nitish Kumar led-Janata Dal (United) if he breaks his coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party, PTI reported.
“If Nitish [Kumar] chooses to dump NDA [National Democratic Alliance], what choice do we have except to embrace him,” the party’s vice-president Shivanand Tiwary said. “RJD is committed to fighting the BJP. If the chief minister decides to join this fight, we will have to take him along.”
Tiwary’s statement came a day after the Janata Dal (United) said it will not join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Union Cabinet during the next expansion.
Kumar had also skipped the NITI Aayog meet chaired by the prime minister on Sunday. Prior to this, he remained absent during the farewell of former President Ram Nath Kovind and the swearing-in ceremony of Droupadi Murmu.
These incidents led to reports speculating about a widening rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally, Janata Dal (United). However, Janata Dal (United) President Rajiv Ranjan Singh on Sunday dismissed the speculation.
In the state elections in 2020, the Rashtriya Janata Dal 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 RJD’s numbers further went up to 80 after four of the five MLAs of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen joined the Tejashwi Yadav-led party. The party’s current strength is 79, as one of its MLAs, Ramai Ram died last month.
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), which has 45 seats in the Assembly.
On Monday, Tiwary said that both, the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, held a meeting with their legislators.
“We cannot ignore the fact that both parties, which together had sufficient numbers to muster a majority, have convened such meetings when an assembly session is not round the corner,” he said, according to PTI.
When asked about the past remarks made by Kumar against Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders, Tiwary said: “In politics, we cannot remain prisoners of the past.”
He then added: “The BJP, which has now become a behemoth, seems out to destroy the Constitution. We have to respond to the challenges of the times.”
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Shakil Ahmed Khan said that whatever was happening in Bihar was a good sign, PTI reported.
“The BJP, which has a history of creating trouble for its allies, is getting a taste of its own medicine,” he remarked.