Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JD(U)) got a jolt in Arunachal Pradesh where six of its seven legislators joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday (December 25).
The JD(U) now has just one MLA in the 60-member Arunachal assembly. The BJP has 48 members.
Three of the six JDU MLAs were suspended last month for anti-party activities. The BJP’s state unit chief Biyuram Wahge said the developments prove people’s trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
Janata Dal (United) leaders are not amused with the development and see it as an instance of backstabbing by its long-term ally, the BJP. The subject is likely to be raised during the two-day National Council meeting of the Janata Dal United this weekend.
The JD(U) got recognition as a state party in Arunachal Pradesh last year after it won seven seats in the last assembly election. The BJP emerged as the single-largest party in Arunachal with 41 seats.
“We will offer full support to the BJP government in Arunachal. Even if we get the opposition party status, we will be a friendly opposition,” JD(U) leader KC Tyagi had been quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The strength of the opposition has now gone down to 12 — four each from Congress and National People’s Party, one from the JD(U) and three Independents.
This is the second setback for Nitish Kumar, who managed to retain the Bihar Chief Minister’s chair after the recent assembly elections but was made deeply aware of his diminished status in the BJP-led coalition.