Patna: Four out of the AIMIM’s five MLAs in Bihar left the party to join the Rashtriya Janata Dal on Wednesday.
The four MLAs are Muhammad Izhar Aasfi, the MLA from Kochadhaman, Shahnawaz Alam from Jokihat, Sayyad Ruknuddin of Bayasi, and Azhar Naimi of Bahadurganj Assembly constituencies – all in Bihar’s Seemanchal area.
With this, the RJD has become the single-largest party in the 243-member Bihar Assembly with 80 MLAs, overtaking the BJP with 77 MLAs.
Tejashwi Yadav came to the Assembly with the four MLAs to meet Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha and inform him about the development.
With this, the AIMIM has been left with only one MLA – Akhtarul Imam, who is also the party’s leader in the Assembly.
The merger of the AIMIM MLAs with the RJD assumes significance, as with this, the party-led alliance’s strength has reached 96, along with 16 MLAs of Left parties. While, the Congress is out of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, it may back the RJD in case the party comes in a position of forming the government. If the 19 Congress MLAs are included, the number reaches 115 – just 7 short from a majority.
After the meeting with the Speaker, the four former AIMIM MLAs will meet RJD national President Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Earlier this month, Akhtarul Imam had said that his party members were being approached by bigger parties ever since the 2020 Assembly election but had remained loyal.
However, most of the AIMIM MLAs were apprehensive about their future, given their party’s showing in the recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections where it had contested more than 90 seats but failed to win even a single one.
The AIMIM is seen as the BJP’s “B team” to cut the votes of parties having a secular ideology. They hit the RJD’s chances in more than 20 Bihar seats in the 2020 polls and five of them managed to win.
With this outcome, the AIMIM was enthusiastic about the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election but got no traction. With this, the AIMIM MLAs knew that the voters of Bihar may not support them in 2025 election and were wanting to merge with the RJD well before it.