Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) on Friday received a shot in the arm with the lone BSP MLA in the state joining his party and an Independent legislator pledging full support to his government.
Chainpur MLA Jama Khan, who won the seat on a BSP ticket, merged his party into the JD(U), while Sumit Kumar Singh, who represents Chakai and has supported the ruling NDA since the formation of the new government in November last year, declared that he would continue to do so for the rest of the term.
Talking to reporters after calling on the chief minister, the MLAs, both of them in their 40s, expressed their admiration for Nitish Kumar”s model of governance and development.
With the induction of the BSP MLA, the strength of the JD(U) in the assembly has reached 44.
Speculations are rife that both Khan and Singh could be included in the state cabinet, the expansion of which is likely in near future.
Khan becomes the lone Muslim MLA of the JD(U). The party had fielded about a dozen candidates in the recent assembly elections, none of whom won.
Singh belongs to a politically influential Rajput family of Jamui, the Lok Sabha seat of Lok Janshakti Party Chirag Paswan, whom the JD(U) desperately wants to cut to size in the wake of his rebellion in the assembly polls, which cost the party dearly.
Khan’s move comes as an embarrassment to BSP chief Mayawati, who had fought the assembly polls in Bihar as part of a multi-party coalition headed by former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha”s RLSP. The grouping also included Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM.
While the RLSP had drawn a blank, the AIMIM ended up winning five seats, all of these in the Seemanchal region where it substantially damaged the Grand Alliance comprising the RJD, the Congress and the Left.
In the assembly elections, the NDA comprising the JD (U), the BJP, the HAM and the VIP had won a slender majority.
The Grand Alliance had fallen short of the majority mark of 122 by about a dozen seats.