Patna: Putting an end to all the speculations, the Janata Dal (United) on Sunday finally announced that they have decided to walk out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and that there would not be any alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Bihar government.
JD (U) president Sharad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced the break up of the coalition at a press conference, exactly a week after Modi was made the BJP's campaign committee chairman, which was widely perceived as just a step short of being made the prime ministerial candidate. Yadav also quit as Convenor of the NDA.
"We cannot compromise with our basic principles. We are not worried about the consequences. As long as the alliance was Bihar-centric, there was no problem. But we had no alternative now. We are not responsible. We were forced to take this decision," Nitish Kumar said.
"The BJP is going through a new phase. As long as there was no external interference in the Bihar alliance, it ran smoothly. Problems began whenever there was external interference," Kumar added without taking the name of Modi even once in the half-an-hour press conference but made several barbs aimed at him.
When asked whether he was referring to Modi, Kumar said "those who understand have understood, those who don't are naive".
In an indirect reference to Modi's new appointment in BJP, Kumar said that there was no problem when the late Pramod Mahajan and Arun Jaitley were made campaign committee chiefs in the past.
"Everybody knew what were our basic concerns," he said in an apparent reference his and his party's serious reservations over projecting Modi.
Recalling the leadership of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and veteran BJP leader L K Advani, Sharad Yadav said, “We have always tried that the NDA must walk together...there have been many ups and downs in 17 years.”
He further said, “In the last seven-eight years, there has been very good association with the BJP in Bihar... but if we walk together now, neither the BJP will benefit, nor will it be good for us.”
Announcing his resignation as the NDA convenor, Yadav said that the decision was taken after discussions with all the party workers, legislators, MLAs and ministers, adding that the BJP was not trustworthy any more.
Later, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that they were compelled to take the decision as there is conflict over the basic principles of the NDA. He said, “This is a new era and we do not agree to it.”
“The conditions worsened so much that even recounting the government’s developments did not go down well with some,” said Kumar.
Referring to the meeting that was skipped by all the BJP ministers in the state, Kumar said that the JD(U) and the BJP could have at least talked about how to get separated, but it could not happen because of the attitude of the latter.
Earlier, the Bihar chief minister recommended the removal of all BJP ministers from his Cabinet.
Nitish Kumar met Governor D Y Patil following the Cabinet meet called by him, that was skipped by the BJP ministers. The JD(U) leader sought a fresh vote of confidence of the House.
Following the meeting with the Governor, the Bihar chief minister told mediapersons that he had sought fresh vote of confidence to prove his majority in the House, and had requested for a special Assembly session to be convened on June 19.
"We will show we have majority support in the Assembly," said Kumar.
In the 243-member assembly, the JD (U) has 118 MLAs and BJP 91. JD (U) just needs four MLAs for a majority. Independents and 'Others' account for 6 MLAs. The main Opposition RJD has 22 and Congress four.
Asked if parting company was not a violation of the mandate given by the people of Bihar to NDA, Kumar pointed out, "The mandate was for the development of Bihar."
The 90-minute JD(U) meeting today passed a three-page resolution on political situation and circumstances pushing it to severe ties with BJP. It spoke of "rapid rise in the growing hegemonic control of a leadership" and "growing intolerance to any voice of dissent and moderation in its decision making process" in BJP.
The resolution said the Goa announcement of the chairmanship of the electoral campaign committee of BJP "has filled all of us with deep apprehensions about the future. It has left not a shadow of doubt that this is a mere ceremonial prelude to his (Modi's) nomination as prime ministerial candidate.
"All efforts within BJP to suggest care and moderation in the process were smothered with the authoritarian cult and imperious disdain. Needless to say that these developments do not auger well for health of our secular and democratic polity," it said.