Ahead of trust vote, Bihar politics abuzz with rumours of cross-voting, shaky allegiances
Parties prepare to shore up their support base even as reports emerge of legislators avoiding meetings and reaching out to rivals
In the lead-up to the floor test scheduled for February 12 for the newly formed NDA government in Bihar, political maneuvering was in full swing. The state's political landscape witnessed closed-door meetings and strategies employed by various parties to maintain unity among their MLAs. The atmosphere was filled with suspense as rumors circulated about legislators missing meetings, reaching out to leaders of rival parties, or intentionally avoiding contact through mobile communication.
Reports hinted at the absence of some Janata Dal (United) legislators during a meeting hosted by senior party leader and Cabinet Minister Shrawan Kumar. Allegedly, certain BJP members had not yet arrived in Bodh Gaya, where the party had gathered its MLAs for a pre-trust vote "training" session. Additionally, an MLA from a Left party, part of the RJD-led grand alliance, was rumored to have met with Jitan Ram Manjhi, the chief of Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular).
All eyes were on Jitan Ram Manjhi, as rumors suggested that the RJD had offered him a Rajya Sabha seat, a Lok Sabha seat, and two Cabinet berths. Mr. Manjhi, known for his unpredictable political decisions, had recently demanded two ministerial positions in the newly formed NDA Cabinet. While keeping his options open, he revealed that an Opposition party had proposed the Chief Minister's role to him, without disclosing the party's identity. However, in a social media post, he asserted the continued alliance of HAM(S) with Prime Minister Modi.