The new Bihar government formed by Nitish Kumar will face the floor test on Monday amid concerns over the absence of "two to three" JD(U) MLAs during the JD(U) legislative party meeting held on Sunday.
The government's decision to deploy a heavy police force outside the residence of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav also triggered a controversy after the RJD hit out at the "misdeeds of Nitish Kumar and the police".
"Nitish Kumar has sent thousands of police and surrounded Tejashwi ji's residence from all sides. They want to enter the residence on any pretext. The people of Bihar are watching the misdeeds of Nitish Kumar and the police. Remember, we are not among those who fear and bow down. This is a struggle of ideology and we will fight it and win because the justice-loving people of Bihar will oppose this police repression. Jai Bihar! Jai Hind," read a statement by the RJD on X.
The police visit to Tejashwi's residence followed an alleged complaint filed by RJD MLA, Chetan Anand. According to the complaint, Anand accused Yadav of holding him against his will ahead of the floor test. However, upon police arrival, Anand clarified that he was present at Yadav's residence willingly and later returned home.
RJD spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav hit out against the police deployment, stating that such a thing never happened in any state in independent India. "It's a legislature's meeting...Agar BJP kare (meeting) to ‘raasleela’, agar RJD kare to ‘character dheela’ (If BJP holds a meeting before floor test then it is rasleela, but if RJD does it then their character is poor)," the RJD leader told news agency ANI.
However, the BJP defended the move, stating that if RJD keeps any MLA "tied up in the house, the police will definitely take action."
Meanwhile, the JD (U) has downplayed the absence of "two or three MLAs," attributing it to "unavoidable circumstances about which they had given prior information." State parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary emphasised that the absentees would be present in the assembly during the floor test.
"We in the NDA have a total strength of 128 MLAs. In the 243-strong assembly, we are comfortably placed. All our MLAs will be present inside the House where a no-confidence motion against the Speaker will precede the trust vote", said Chaudhary.
The senior JD(U) leader evaded a direct reply on the exact number of MLAs who skipped the meet. "All except two or three were present. Those who did not come had informed the party leadership about the unavoidable circumstances that kept them away. They will, however, be there inside the House tomorrow", claimed Chaudhary.
JD(U) sources requesting anonymity said the three MLAs who were not spotted at the meeting were Sudharshan Kumar Singh, Bima Bharti and Dilip Roy.
The JD(U) has altogether 45 MLAs, excluding the chief minister who is a member of the legislative council.