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Nitish Kumar Returns as Bihar Chief Minister, This Time With BJP

The political landscape of Bihar changed in a matter of hours when JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar broke away from the Mahagathbandhan and returned to the NDA fold.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:July 27, 2017, 12:56 PM IST

Patna: JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar returned as Bihar Chief Minister on Thursday, less than 24 hours after unexpectedly resigning in the wake of a strenuous rift in the Mahagathbandhan with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD.

Nitish Kumar was administered the oath at 10am followed by BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi who will be the new deputy chief minister, replacing Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav who has been accused of corruption.

The political landscape of Bihar changed in a matter of hours on Wednesday when Kumar formally staked claim to form the government with the backing of the BJP, marking his return to the NDA fold.

Nitish resigned on Wednesday evening, citing the failure of his Mahagathbandhan allies — the RJD and the Congress — to act on demands of Tejashwi’s resignation.

Tejashwi, his father Lalu and mother Rabri Devi have been booked by the CBI in a corruption case that dates back to 2005 when Lalu was the Railway Minister.

"In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government," Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised him for his "honesty" in standing up to corruption. Then the BJP said it would support him, and its legislators met Kumar's JD(U) MLAs.

After the meeting, Kumar, accompanied by senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi drove to Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government.

The JD(U)-BJP combine has returned to power after four years in the politically volatile state. Prodded by Kumar, the JD(U) had walked out of the NDA in July 2013 after Narendra Modi was nominated head of the BJP's campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

However, in no mood to give up without a fight, Tejashwi Yadav earlier said the RJD being the single largest party in the state would stake claim to form the government.

"Have sought appointment with the governor. Will stake claim to form government as the single largest party. Will also get the support of JD(U) MLAs who have won after defeating BJP candidates," Tejashwi tweeted.

However, the numbers are stacked against him. The JD(U), BJP, their allies and supporting independent MLAs together account for 132 seats in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, 10 more than the magic figure of 122.

The RJD has 81 MLAs and even if Congress with 27 MLAs and CPI-ML (03) decide to back Tejashwi, their number would add up to 110.

The trust vote will take place in Bihar Assembly on Saturday.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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