Nitish Returns As Bihar Chief Minister For Sixth Time
Patna: Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar has taken over as Chief Minister of Bihar on Thursday morning, within 24 hours of resigning from the post the previous day.
He has thus become the Chief Minister of Bihar for the sixth time, with Bharatiya Janata Party moving in quickly and announcing support to him in a formal letter to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. The JD (U) leader had earlier broken away from the BJP in 2013 and successfully led the Mahagathbandhan, formed along with Rashtra Janata Dal and Congress, to power in Bihar in 2015.
The Bihar Governor, who accepted Nitish Kumar’s resignation on Wednesday, administered him the oath of office as the new Chief Minister on Thursday morning. Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi has been sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister.
Tripathi has asked the Bihar Chief Minister to prove his majority by Friday.
Nitish Kumar wining the vote of confidence is a foregone conclusion as his new coalition has 132 MLAs in the 243-member State Legislative Assembly, which takes it well past the required number of 122 MLAs. The breakup is JD (U) 71, BJP 53, LJP 2, RLSP 2, HAM 1 and three independents. The other alliance partners in Mahagathbandhan, Congress and RJD, together stand at only 107. Smaller parties and independents have deserted the Mahagathbandhan in view of the latest developments.
The political scenario in Bihar moved at jet speed after a meeting of the Rashtriya Janata Dal Legislature Party on Wednesday morning reiterated that Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav will not resign following a CBI case registered against him earlier this month.
By the same evening, Nitish Kumar resigned, BJP immediately swung into action and offered him unconditional support, following which he approached the Bihar Governor staking his claim to form the government with the support of 132 MLAs.
Bihar Chief Minister’s decision to do a “ghar wapsi” with the saffron party has lead to differences within his JD (U). Senior party leader Sharad Yadav has gone on record that he would quit JD (U) in case Nitish Kumar moved to the BJP to continue his rule.
While the BJP is on cloud nine with JD (U) coming back to its fold before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it remains to be seen whether Nitish Kumar could bank on the support of Muslims and Yadavs, who together can tilt the scales in Bihar and are seen as supporters of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal supporters have come onto the streets in Bihar to protest against Nitish Kumar’s decision to dump Mahagathbandhan in favour of the BJP. Tejashwi Yadav asserted that the Governor should have actually first called the RJD to form the government since it was the largest party in Bihar Legislative Assembly.
Reacting to the developments, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said, “Nitish Kumar has cheated us. He gave me a different reaction when he met me.” He commented that the JD (U) leader had left the grand alliance as part of his personal politics and had joined hands with the wrong people.