13 MLAs split from Lalu's party
Giving a blow to former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, 13 MLAs of his party have quit just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The MLAs met Bihar Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary on Monday and announced their decision to leave the party.
According to one of the rebel MLAs, they asked the Speaker to declare them unattached to the party. They also announced their willingness to join Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
RJD MLA Samrat Chaudhary said they had written to the Vidhan Sabha Secretary on Feb 14 that 13 MLAs be provided separate seating arrangement or be allowed to merge with JD-U.
"Today we have got permission to sit separately as RJD has become a B team of Congress," said Chaudhary.
The Speaker allotted them separate sitting space after which they announced that they would support the Nitish Kumar government, reports said.
Justifying their stand, rebel MLA Javed Ansari told media that:"Our neta is playing in the lap of a politician who sent him to jail." This comment was referred to the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers that was scrapped following Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's intervention last year.
Reacting to the news, party supremo Lalu Prasad told media that: "I have heard some news, I am not sure if it has happened."
This comes a day after Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan moved closer to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaving behind RJD and Congress, with whom it earlier aimed to ally.
(Posted on 24-02-2014)