PATNA: In an unexpected turn of events, all MLAs and MLCs belonging to Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and three Left parties have virtually been made ‘hostage’ at Bihar’s former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s official residence in Patna, ahead of floor test of newly formed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the state.
The lawmakers have not been allowed to use their phone calls and arrangements have been made for their stay till the floor test is completed on February 12.
Sources said that arrangements for their recreation during their stay have also been made by RJD top leadership. Leaders of the party have been deployed to take care of the MLAs and MLCs.
The decision to make the lawmakers ‘hostage’ was taken after a marathon meeting chaired by RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Sources said that the MLAs and MLCs were asked not to leave Tejashwi’s house located on 5, Deshratna Marg, in the state capital. Altogether 77 MLAs of RJD and 12 of CPI-ML, CPI and CPI(M) were present at the meeting of the legislature party.
Personal staff and police personnel of legislators carried suitcases stuffed with clothes and other items to the residence. It is believed that they were informed in advance by the RJD’s top leadership that they should come prepared to stay.
Arrangements have also been made for their food and other facilities including entertainment. Artists carrying musical instruments were seen entering the residence late in the evening.
Security has been beefed up around the residence as the entry of media has also been banned. Mobile phones of the legislators have also been reportedly seized according to sources.
RJD MP Manoj Jha said that legislators of RJD and other constituents of the grand alliance expressed their willingness to stay together for the next 48 hours.
“All legislators are staying together, entertaining themselves and discussing politics of Bihar and country.
“We had not started the game, but we will finish it,” he remarked, while obliquely referring to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar snapping ties with the grand alliance and forming a new government with BJP.
When asked whether RJD was scared, Jha shot back and said, “Neither we are scared nor we are worried.”
Meanwhile, RJD’s chief spokesperson Shakti Yadav said, “Bihar government could go to any extent out of political vendetta, posing dangers to the democracy and constitution. We have also instances of Operation Lotus. MLAs want to stay together until the floor test is over. In politics, people keep coming and going.”
On the other hand, JD (U) chief spokesperson Neeraj Kumar alleged that the RJD’s decision to make its all legislators ‘political hostages’ at 5, Deshratna Marg proved that they were scared.
“There is an adage that the one who got scared died and so RJD had accepted the defeat even before the floor test. We have already won the floor test,” he added.
On the other hand, BJP leader Nikhil Anand said that a few MLAs of RJD were uncomfortable and now the party was making its legislators hostage. He contended that NDA was assured of winning the trust vote from beginning.