Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday submitted his resignation to Governor Faghu Chauhan hours after he announced the JD(U)’s alliance with the BJP has ended. In his first statement following his meeting with Governor Chauhan, Kumar said the decision to sever ties with NDA was taken by JD(U). “All MPs and MLAs are at a consensus that we should leave the NDA,” he said.
Kumar later left for a meeting with former chief minister Rabri Devi’s house to hold discussions with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. Kumar, who is expected to form a fresh government with the support of the entire opposition including RJD, told Tejashwi Yadav to forget “what happened in 2017 and start a new chapter,” according to a report by ANI news agency citing RJD sources.
RJD party workers, who appeared tipped to be a part of the new government, joined their counterparts in the JD(U) in raising the slogan “Nitish Kumar zindabad.”
The JD(U) has hailed its de facto leader for assuming the “leadership of a new coalition”. Party’s parliamentary board president Upendra Kushwaha in a post on Twitter referred to the opposition Grand Alliance’s support to the JD(U) leader. “Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for assuming leadership of a new coalition, in a new form”, he wrote.
In the 243-member Bihar state assembly, the JD-U has 45 legislators and RJS has 79 MLAs, while the BJP has only 75 MLAs. The CPI-ML has 12 MLAs, CPI-M and CPI have two MLAs each, while one MLA is of AIMIM. The Hindustani Awam Morcha of former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has four legislators and one is independent, while one seat is vacant.
Amid growing differences between the BJP and JD(U), Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan was sent to hold meetings with Kumar a few times in recent months to defuse the crisis brewing due to dissatisfaction over alleged attempts from a section of BJP leaders to assert dominance and put their ally in the shade. The BJP hoped that Home Minister Amit Shah’s assertion at a recent meeting of the state party leaders in Patna that its alliance with the JD(U) will continue for the next Lok Sabha as well assembly polls in 2024 and 2025 will reassure the ally.
However, despite the attempts, BJP leadership ignoring the JD(U)’s demand of a “proportionate” share in the Union Cabinet and paying little heed to the ally’s complaints seems to have convinced Kumar that he may continue to remain in power as part of the NDA but will have a steadily diminished authority.
The chief minister reportedly told party legislators and MPs, at a meeting he convened at his official residence, that he had been driven against the wall by the BJP which tried to weaken his JD(U), first by propping up Chirag Paswan’s rebellion and later through the party’s former national president RCP Singh.
(With inputs from PTI)