Patna: The impact of political developments in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is now being felt thousands of kilometres away in Bihar.
A day after the Karnataka governor invited the BJP to form government in the state on the ground of it being the single largest party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, backed by its Grand Alliance partners and Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML), a left party, marched to the Raj Bhawan on Friday and staked claim to form government in Bihar on similar ground.
Senior RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who led the foot march of party lawmakers to the Raj Bhawan under the fire-spitting sun also handed over a list of support of 111 lawmakers to Governor Satya Pal Malik and urged him take a decision in this regard as soon as possible.
The Congress party and the CPI-ML also separately handed over their letter of support to the governor and requested him to give the RJD the chance to form government in the state after dissolving the present National Democratic Alliance government headed by Kumar.
“We are inspired to write to you all over again in view of a principled position taken by the Governor of Karnataka highlighting the significance of the Single Largest Party in the formation of the government … the RJD was/is the single largest party in the existing Bihar assembly. Besides, we remain the single largest pre-poll election block together with the Congress party,” Tejashwi mentioned in his memorandum to the governor.
He urged the governor to “uphold the spirit of Constitution”, and allow them to show their strength on the floor of the House following the “Bommai judgement and the recent decision of the Karnataka governor which has become a guiding principle in such cases”.
The RJD-led Grand Alliance is 11 short of majority in 243-member Bihar assembly but Tejashwi said they would prove majority on the floor of the House if given the chance for a floor test. RJD has 80 members, Congress 27 members, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) one member whereas CPI-ML has three members in the House.
He also informed the governor that, apart from the support of 111 lawmakers, quite many disgruntled lawmakers from various parties, including the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) were ready to lend their support.
“We will very easily pass the floor test once we are given the chance to form government,” Tejashwi said.
According to him, the governor gave them patient hearing and sought time to convey his decision.
“We will take the next course of action once the Governor gives his decision,” Tejashwi told the media after meeting the Governor today.
He accused chief minister Nitish Kumar of allowing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to enter the government through the back door, while the mandate for them was to sit in the opposition.
“The BJP was relegated to the third position after 2015 Bihar state polls with only 53 seats in its kitty but Nitish Kumar allow their entry into government from thief door,” Tejashwi alleged.
The three party-Grand Alliance comprising the RJD, Janata Dal United and the Congress had emerged victorious after 2015 state polls, bagging a total of 178 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly.
Later, however, the chief minister broke away from the Grand Alliance in July last year and managed to form his government with BJP support though both the parties had fought against each other.
Earlier in the day, the RJD staged a daylong sit-in seeking to dethrone the BJP.
Hundreds of party leaders, workers and office-bearers attended the sit-in.
“We demand a return of the mandate we were robbed of,” RJD parliamentarian Manoj Jha said, referring to how the JD-U and BJP managed to form government in Bihar although both had fought against each other.
The NDA hit out at the Grand Alliance leaders staking claim to from government in Bihar. “They are daydreaming,” a JD-U leader said.