Bihar coalition set to collapse, BJP to boycott cabinet meet

Patna, June 16 (IANS) Bihar's ruling coalition was set to come apart with BJP ministers refusing to attend a cabinet meeting called by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Sunday and a senior JD-U leader declaring that a divorce was a mere formality.

Janata Dal-United leaders also threatened to wipe out the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from Bihar once they formally take on the Bharatiya Janata Party.

BJP state president Mangal Pandey told IANS that there was no meaning in attending the cabinet meeting when JD-U leaders were trying to lure other legislators in a bid to form their own government.

Nitish Kumar has called an emergency cabinet meeting at 11.30 a.m. Sunday.

The JD-U and BJP, who have been allies for some 17 years, are at loggerheads over the BJP's decision to give a larger role to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who Nitish Kumar says is unacceptable to his party.

JD-U spokesman Rajiv Ranjan told IANS that the BJP's decision to boycott the cabinet meeting was unfortunate.

"The BJP ministers are violating their constitutional duty and making it clear that they want to end the alliance," he said.

He said BJP ministers had earier stopped attending their office and returned the official vehicles although the alliance with the JD-U, despite mounting tensions, was still in force.

JD-U MP Shivanand Tiwari said: "Only a formal announcement of partying of ways is to be made. we have already taken the decision."

JDU president Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar met Saturday night to access the situation after the former arrived here from New Delhi.

"The alliance is over," another JD-U leader said.

According to JD-U sources, Sharad Yadav is likely to resign as the NDA's national convener at 3 p.m.

BJP leaders are also meeting her at 12.30 p.m. The Nitish Kumar government has 11 BJP ministers who could resign Sunday.

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