Five Janata Dal (United) MLAs, who merged with the BJP in Manipur have joined it in the presence of BJP national president JP Nadda at his office in New Delhi on Sunday.
They were extended warm welcome by Nadda. “I welcome the five JDU MLAs from Manipur into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) family,” Nadda wrote in his Facebook page.
“All of you possess qualities that will greatly benefit our party. I am certain you will all serve the nation diligently as members of the BJP and play your role in the development of the country,” he added.
Chief minister N Biren Singh also, in a Facebook post, said with great enthusiasm and joy, JP Nadda heartily welcomed the five JD(U) MLAs to the BJP fold.
Meanwhile, the state unit of the ruling party was preparing to felicitate the turncoat MLAs with a grand function after their returned to Imphal.
The five MLAs along with the chief minister and state BJP chief, A Sarda Devi were likely to return to Imphal on Monday.
“Our party will give them (five MLAs) a rousing welcome. Preparations are being made for a grand reception function,” said a senior leader of the party.
The JD(U) MLAs – KhJoykishan, N Sanate, Md Achab Uddin, L M Khaute and ThangjamArunkumar – merged with the BJP on Friday and dashed to New Delhi on Saturday along with state BJP president A Sarda Devi and joined the chief minister who was camping there.
Nitish accuses BJP of using ‘money power’ in Mnp
The JD(U) accused BJP on Saturday of using “dhan bal” or money power to poach legislators from other parties, putting up a brave front after five of its MLAs in Manipur defected to the party’s former ally, a day before.
According to TNN, the Manipur defection is seen as an awkward setback as it was not expected before JD(U)’s national executive meeting in Patna that began Friday. It may not impede JD(U)’s hope to position itself as a “national party” with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar at its centrepiece for a bigger role. But the latest development did cause embarrassment.
Reacting to five of its six lawmakers switching sides in Manipur, Nitish questioned the propriety and constitutionality of the alleged poaching by BJP: “Is it proper? Is it constitutional? Is it in line with established norms?” He called upon opposition political parties to unite against BJP in 2024 for a “positive” result.
He accused the BJP government in Manipur of not giving any post to the JD(U) MLAs when the party was with NDA in the northeastern state. “But now, they have taken our MLAs in their party. Just think about what kind of politics is going on. What type of behaviour is this?”
Nitish said the six party MLAs had come to Patna a day after winning the Manipur election in March this year. “They again came this month soon after we quit NDA and formed the new government with the grand alliance. All six MLAs supported our decision. … Just see how the BJP is ‘attracting’ MLAs of other parties towards it,” he said.
JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh aka Lalan Singh alleged that BJP’s “game” in Manipur followed the plotline it used before in Delhi, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
“Whatever tricks and games the BJP may play, it will not be able to stop the JD(U) from becoming a national party by 2023,” he said. Currently, the JD(U) is recognised as a ‘state party’ in Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. If it secures 6% of polled votes in one more state, it would be recognised as a ‘national party’ by the Election Commission.
JD(U) hopes to secure more than 6% votes in the Nagaland elections due in early 2023.