The Congress party on Wednesday suspended four of its members of Legislative Council, including former state party chief Ashok Chaudhary, in Bihar. Following the move by the party, the leaders announced that they would join the ruling Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal United.
Addressing mediapersons, Chaudhary said that people who worked for the party were sidelined by the Congress. “The four of us have decided that we are bidding goodbye to the party and going to JDU,” he added.
Lauding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the former Bihar Congress chief said, “We sincerely believe he is one of the finest leaders.”
The four suspended leaders who have decided to join the JDU are Ashok Chaudhary, Dilip Chaudhary, Tanvir Akhtar and Ram Chandra Bharti.
According to reports, Nitish Kumar is likely to expand his Cabinet after the move by these leaders. Speculations are rife that Ashok Chaudhary will be made a minister in the Nitish Cabinet or will be sent to the Rajya Sabha by the JDU.
Reports further said that some leaders of the Congress party have been in touch with Nitish Kumar for quite sometime. This move leaves Congress with just Madan Mohan Jha and Rajesh Ram in the legislative council of the state.
This comes on a day when former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) severed its ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and decided to join the Congress-Rashtyriya Janata Dal Mahagathbandhan in the state. Manjhi will make the formal announcement of his decision to ally with the Congress-RJD group at 10 am on Thursday in Patna.
Manjhi met RJD leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav in Patna on Wednesday and told him that the HAM will ally with the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar. RJD founder Lalu Prasad's close aide Bhola Yadav and his elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, too, were present in the meeting.
A few weeks back senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had claimed that even Manhji is willing to dump the NDA and ally with the RJD. Manjhi had demanded that his party should get at least one Rajya Sabha seat from Bihar which was not accepted by the BJP following which he decided to leave the NDA. Six Rajya Sabha seats are vacant in Bihar and Manjhi had threatened that if his party is not considered for the election then he would not support the NDA in the Araria Lok Sabha, and Jahanabad and Bhabhua Assembly bypolls scheduled on March 11.