In a surprise move, three rebel Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLAs – ‘Bahubali’ Prahlad Yadav and the kin of two other strongmen, Chetan Anand and Neelam Singh — sat on the side of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Vidhan Sabha on Monday and voted in favour of the CM Nitish Kumar-led government during the floor test.
With three RJD MLAs in support, Kumar-led NDA won the floor test with a thumping majority of 129 MLAs, excluding ruling party’s deputy speaker. One MLA of Janata Dal United (JDU) Dilip Ray was absent on the first day of the 11th session of the Bihar Assembly.
CHETAN ANAND’S ‘KIDNAPPING’
Chetan Anand, the son of Bahubali and ex-MP Anand Mohan and former MP Lovely, was in focus on Monday as he was ‘evacuated’ from former deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav’s residence at 2 am. Around 10 pm, SDM Patna and SSP entered Yadav’s residence where all RJD MLAs were camping for two days. The Patna police had received a written complaint from Chetan’s younger brother Ayushman, alleging “kidnapping of his brother Chetan”. The police administration, in its third attempt and after a small commotion with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), workers took Chetan to his residence. Anand Mohan and son Chetan Anand met CM Nitish Kumar at his residence before the floor test.
WHAT SOURCES SAY
It is speculated that Chetan Anand’s mother Lovely (currently in RJD) has been promised a Lok Sabha ticket from Vaishali or Sheohar on an NDA ticket. Sources also say that Chetan Anand, if disqualified, might get an NDA seat in the Legislative Council.
Anand Mohan was released from Saharsa jail last April after spending 15 years in jail for the 1994 murder of G Krishnaiah, then district magistrate of Gopalganj. Former lawmaker Anand Mohan, till very recently was in the crosshairs of BJP politicians for his premature release from jail. His premature release petition is being heard in the Supreme Court.
TOOK WICKET AFTER PLAYING CRICKET
CNN-News 18 spoke to Chetan Anand to get a better sense for the big decision he took.
Till yesterday, you were spotted playing cricket and singing songs at Tejashwi’s Residence. Why did you change your mind?
You all are aware of the controversy in the past. My father was insulted and a son can’t ignore that. I am not speaking anything out of context. This has happened and there were many grievances which added fuel to the fire. My mother was in the party, but she was never given any post. Didn’t she deserve that? I am an alumni of top colleges of India, yet I was called immature in the party. Don’t you think I have not taken the right step after my father, mother and I were insulted on several occasions?
Any grudge against Tejashwi Yadav?
We were feeling uneasy with some of the party leaders, but I have no grudge against the party leadership. Tejashwi is like an elder brother to me. My community (Rajputs) was disrespected by one of our RJD leader (Manoj Jha, citing a poem Thakur Ka Kuan recently), which I opposed and then some of the leaders in the party started targeting me and my community. Thakur Ka Kuan episode happened in which many things were said that had no relevance with the current time, yet it was cited to malign our dignity. That incident had badly hurt the sentiments of our community.
What happened last night?
My family was worried about me and I was not allowed to contact them for past two days. After a small heated exchange of words with few leaders inside, I tried to move out of Tejashwi’s residence, but I was not allowed to meet my family members. The administration had to intervene so I could go home. This was the last nail in the coffin.
How do you see your future in the NDA now?
Right now, I don’t have an answer to that, but hope for the best to happen.
OTHER TWO RJD MLAS WHO DITCHED THE PARTY
Prahlad Yadav, who has dominated the sand business in Bihar and has many cases registered against him, walked from the RJD’s side towards the NDA and sat with Chetan Anand. All Mahagathbandhan MLAs were stunned to see his move inside the Vidhan Sabha.
Another RJD MLA Neelam Singh, wife of Bahubali Anant Singh, was contacted at night. According to sources, Neelam Singh was assured a ticket for the Lok Sabha. Her husband, Anant Singh, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Beur jail for violating the Arms Act, after an AK-47 rifle was discovered at his residence, may also get relief, said sources.
The NDA brought a Rajput (Chetan Anand), Bhumihar (Neelam Singh) and a Yadav OBC (Prahlad Yadav) on their court, reversing Tejashwi’s ‘khela’.