Nitish govt comfortably wins confidence vote minus BJP

Patna: After dumping ally BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today comfortably won a vote of confidence in his government in the Bihar Assembly amid signals of a new political alignment as Congress backed the motion.
 
A total of 126 votes, including four of Congress and one of CPI, were cast in favour of the confidence motion while 24, including 22 of Lalu Prasad-led RJD, voted against the motion as BJP members staged a walkout before the vote.
 
Those who voted in favour of the motion included ruling JD(U)'s 117 and four Independents. Besides RJD's 22 MLAs, two Independents also opposed the motion.
 
Significantly, the Congress support for the government comes two days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Kumar as secular and indicated that his party could do business with JD(U). The central government had already enhanced development assistance to Bihar as a backward state recently, setting off speculation that the two parties could come together in future elections.
 
In his speech in the Assembly, Kumar said, without taking the name of Narendra Modi, that the main reason for breaking the alliance with BJP was the elevation of the Gujarat Chief Minister in his party.
 
He said the slogan shouting by BJP MLAs hailing Modi went to buttress JD(U)'s point, an apparent reference to the possibility of BJP making him the Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
Later, the Chief Minister in a chat with reporters thanked the Congress party for voting in favour of the trust motion.
 
"But if you think that there was some discussion (between JD(U) and Congress) about future, there has been no discussion," he said.