PATNA: While Congress reportedly booked a resort near Bengaluru on Wednesday in a bid to prevent poaching of its lawmakers in Karnataka, Bihar has seen such ‘resort politics’ in 2005 when a group of Lok Janshakti Party MLAs had been kept in two resorts at Jamshedpur to help JD (U)-BJP combine form government in the state.
Sources said 15 out of the 29 newly-elected MLAs of Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP were kept at the two resorts 13km from Jamshedpur town on May 21, 2005 in a bid to install an NDA-led government in Bihar and to prevent any attempt of their poaching by UPA of RJD and Congress.
On the next day, they were shifted to a farm house at Ghatshila, 40km from Jamshedpur. They had been taken back to Patna the next day. The BJP in Jharkhand incidentally provided logistics to the MLAs.
RJD and Congress had 75 and 10 MLAs respectively as per the election results while JD (U), BJP and LJP had 55, 37 and 29 lawmakers respectively. The support of 122 MLAs was needed to reach the majority mark in the 243-seat Bihar assembly, which emerged a hung house in February 2005.
“LJP was not supporting either the NDA or the UPA as Ram Vilas ji had put forth a condition to name a minority candidate for the CM’s post. A few MLAs, including Narendra Singh, were pursued by the NDA and they were taken to a resort in Jamshedpur to prevent their poaching by the UPA,” an LJP functionary said on Wednesday.
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwari recalled that the LJP MLAs were taken to Jharkhand because of a BJP government there. “Senior BJP functionary Saryu Rai in Jharkhand and JD (U) functionary Lalan Singh in Bihar among several other leaders played active roles in securing the flock of 15 LJP MLAs,” he said.
Sources said neither the NDA nor the UPA could cobble up the required numbers to form government, which led to President’s Rule in the state. Elections were later held in October the same year and NDA came out with a majority of 143 seats and Nitish Kumar formed the government.
Congress functionaries in Patna admitted that the ‘grand old party’ is taking all possible measures in Karnataka to ‘safeguard’ its MLAs. “The party high command is keeping a close watch on the developments in Karnataka and taking all possible steps to prevent any BJP attempt to influence our MLAs. BJP is known for such unethical politics and it has done so earlier in Goa and several other states. Hence, the party is not taking any chances this time,” Bihar Congress officiating president Kaukab Quadri told TOI, adding he was not aware about resort booked in Bengaluru for the party’s MLAs.