Manipur 'coup': JD(U)'s 5 of 6 MLAs switch to BJP
After reports of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) planning to pull out from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ruling coalition in Manipur, five out of six of its MLAs rolled over to the BJP on Friday. This comes a day before the JD(U)'s national executive meeting in Patna, where the final call on withdrawing support from the government was to be taken.
- In August, Kumar had ended the five-year-old alliance with BJP in Bihar after a prolonged tussle on several issues, and joined hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and five other Opposition parties to form the government.
- Now, with Manipur 'coup' on JD(U), the battle between Kumar and BJP seems to have taken a bitter turn in run up to the 2024 general elections.
Assembly Secretary, K Meghajit Singh issued a statement that the Speaker was "pleased to accept the merger" of the MLAs into the BJP, under the 10th schedule of the Constitution. The lawmakers to join the BJP are Kh Joykishan, N Sanate, Md Achab Uddin, former DGP L M Khaute, and Thangjam Arunkumar. Lilong MLA Mohammed Nasir is now JD(U)'s lone lawmaker in the region.
The JD(U) had won six out of 38 constituencies that it contested in elections in March this year. Notably, Khaute and Arunkumar had earlier sought to fight elections from the BJP but contested from the JD(U) after being denied the ticket. JD(U)'s national general secretary and Northeast in-charge, Afaque Ahmad Khan said that the political development in the state reflected the BJP's morality.
The BJP and the JD(U) did not contest the state elections as allies. After the election results, six JD(U) MLAs extended their support to the government as their party was a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) back then. On August 24, the JD(U)'s lone MLA in Arunachal Pradesh joined the BJP following other six legislators.
Since coming into power, the ruling alliance had a 55-member majority in the state Assembly of 60 seats, including six members from JD(U). With the JD(U)'s five MLAs switching sides, the ruling alliance led by the BJP would lose the support of one legislator and maintain an absolute majority of 54 members against the required majority is 31 seats in the Assembly.