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Three 'Mahagathbandhan' MLAs join BJP in big jolt to I.N.D.I.A bloc in Bihar

Nivedita Dash Edited By: Nivedita Dash @Nivedita0503 Patna Updated on: February 27, 2024 17:31 IST
Rahul Gandhi with Tejashwi Yadav
Image Source : PTI Rahul Gandhi with Tejashwi Yadav

In another blow to I.N.D.I.A bloc, Congress MLAs Murari Prasad Gautam and Siddharth Saurav, and RJD MLA Sangita Kumari joined the BJP on Tuesday. The development comes just weeks ahead of the declaration of Lok Sabha polls by the Election Commission. The highly-anticipated general elections are due April-May this year.

Last month, Nitish Kumar had broken away from the Mahagathbandhan and the Opposition's I.N.D.I.A bloc and rejoined the NDA ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

While the alliance in Bihar comprising Congress, RJD and Left parties is deliberating on the seat-sharing formula, the latest development comes as a blow to the allies hoping to defeat the BJP in the crucial polls.

Murari Prasad Gautam hails from the Chenari constituency, Siddharth Saurav from Vikram constituency and Sangeeta Devi from Mohaniya Assembly seat.

The RJD has baulked at seeking disqualification of Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav, none of whom has so far formally resigned from the party.

The latest development marks the first sign of rebellion within the Congress, which had packed off all but one of its 19 MLAs to Hyderabad ahead of the trust vote, fearing a split.

Siddharth Singh, who is said to be unhappy with the Congress' state leadership, had then refused to leave Bihar, citing prior engagements in his Bikram constituency.

Murari Gautam lost his cabinet berth last month as a result of Nitish Kumar's abrupt exit from the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and return to the NDA.

Earlier in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA won 353 seats, the UPA stood at 91, and others won 98. The voting was staggered in seven phases between April 11 and May 19, in which around 67 per cent of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise to elect 542 members of the Lok Sabha.

(With PTI inputs)

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