The ruling JD-U in Bihar appeared to be on tenterhooks tonight ahead of June 19 bypoll to two Rajya Sabha seats amid a claim that 33 rebel MLAs skipped the legislature party meeting in Patna this evening, even as RJD, which holds the key to outcome, deferred its decision till Wednesday.
Keeping its stand a closely guarded secret, JD(U)'s erstwhile ally BJP too said its legislature party would meet twice on Wednesday to chart out its strategy for the bypoll. Trouble stared at JD(U) with a dissident leader claiming that 33 MLAs skipped the legislature party meeting in Patna this evening.
Party chief Sharad Yadav tried to play down absence of large number of MLAs and expressed confidence that the party would win in bypoll for the two RS seats.
Asked how many MLAs skipped the meeting, Yadav said "I have not counted the number." State minister Vijay Chaudhary told reporters that except for a handful of rebels, many MLAs who could not make it to the meeting had informed the party before hand about it, citing personal reasons.
Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, leader of the dissident group who was among those absent at the meeting at the Chief Minister's residence claimed that 33 MLAs did not attend.
He also claimed that many who attended the meeting would side with them during voting during the Rajya Sabha bypoll, which has turned into a trial of strength. Another dissident leader also claimed that 32 party MLAs did not attend.