Patna: Adding more speculation to the growing Congress-JD(U) friendship, sources have indicated that the Congress is likely to vote in favour of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the trust vote on Wednesday. Sources say the Congress is keeping its options in the Bihar Assembly open.
It is a big day for Nitish Kumar as his party will move a trust vote in the state legislature in what is being seen as a litmus test after the BJP-JD(U) split. The voting is expected to take place around 2 in the afternoon and Nitish Kumar seems confident of proving his majority.
JD(U) leaders said Nitish Kumar was "calm and cool" and spent the day in office on Tuesday, not worried about the trust vote in the 243-seat legislature. "Nitish Kumar was busy as usual in office work. He was not at all tense," an official in the chief minister's office said.
JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said that Wednesday's trust vote would be smooth sailing for Nitish Kumar. The JD(U) has 118 legislators, but it needs 122 votes to win the confidence of the House. Four independent legislators have reportedly pledged support to the JD(U). "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.
But the BJP in Bihar with 91 legislators is gearing up to vote against Nitish Kumar. RJD's Lalu Prasad has said that his 22 legislators will all be voting against the JD(U) also.
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.
(With additional information from IANS)