New Delhi/Patna, Feb 25:
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Monday seemed headed for a split after 13 legislators said they were no longer with the party, but party leaders denied any rift and six of the “rebels” said they were still with the Lalu Prasad-led party.
“The RJD has not split as claimed,” party leader in the assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui told media persons here.
Earlier, RJD member Javed Ansari told IANS that he along with 12 other legislators signed a letter and submitted it to Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary, requesting him to allot them separate seats in the assembly.
Choudhary accepted the letter and identified them as a separate group in the house, he said. The RJD has 22 members in the 243-member house.
Ansari also said the 13 were intending to join the ruling Janata Dal-United.
RJD chief whip Samrat Choudhary also said 13 of the 22 legislators were no longer with the party.
Siddiqui later presented six of these 13 legislators before the media at the party office here, and said the rumour was spread to create confusion in the RJD.
“It is an act of mischief and fraud by someone for greed of red beacons and plum posts,” he said, blaming the JD-U of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the “rumour”.
“It’s a fact that the Nitish Kumar government is in minority and he badly needs support of more legislators to ensure a stable government,” he said.
Siddiqui said the RJD has called a meeting of its legislature party Tuesday at the official residence of former chief minister Rabri Devi.
“It will be clear in the meeting how many legislators are with the party,” he said.
Asked about the split in the party, Lalu Prasad said he will talk to the legislators as communalism was a threat to India.
“Communalism is a threat to the country. I would suggest to the MLAs not to quit the party. We will talk to them,” he said.