Ahead of vote, Nitish confident of proving majority

Patna, June 18 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is confident of proving his majority in the assembly Wednesday after dumping the BJP as an ally, party leaders said Tuesday.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leaders said Nitish Kumar was “calm and cool” and spent the day in office Tuesday, not worried about the trust vote in the 243-seat legislature.

Soon after the JD-U ended its 17-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party Sunday, the chief minister vowed to seek a vote of confidence at a special session of the state assembly Wednesday.

“Nitish Kumar was busy as usual in office work. He was not at all tense,” an official in the chief minister’s office said.

Nitish Kumar called off the alliance with the BJP and his colleague Sharad Yadav quit as the convenor of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) following differences with the BJP over the growing clout of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar told IANS that Wednesday’s trust vote would be smooth sailing for Nitish Kumar.

The JD-U is four short of majority but is confident of bagging the adequate numbers despite opposition from friend-turned-foe BJP and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

The ruling party is primarily banking on the six independents.

“After four of the six independent legislators announced their support to Nitish Kumar, the sole LJP legislator, Zakir Hussain Khan, has also announced his support to the government,” Neeraj Kumar said.

“We have the magic number of 122 including 118 JD-U legislators, four independents and one LJP legislator,” he added.

The independents supporting Nitish Kumar are Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, Som Prakash Singh, Vinay Bihari and Dulal Chandra Goswami.

Bihar JD-U president Bashisht Narain Singh said all its legislators barring Goh representative Ranvijay Singh, who is in prison, attended the legislative party meeting here.

According to JD-U leaders, the Congress with four legislators is likely to abstain during the vote of confidence. The lone CPI legislator is unlikely to vote against Nitish Kumar.

The BJP, with 91 legislators, has stated it was prepared to sit in the opposition.

“The Nitish Kumar government is safe and sure to prove majority in the house with the support of like-minded secular parties,” Neeraj Kumar said.

Lalu Prasad has vowed to vote against the JD-U. His RJD has 22 legislators.

“My party will definitely vote against the government during the trust vote,” he told the media here.

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