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Nitish Switch: Opposition Leaders Call it 'Timely Effort' to Forge Unity Among Secular Forces

PTI

Last Updated: August 10, 2022, 21:40 IST

Patna, India

Nitish Kumar today resigned as Bihar CM. (File photo/PTI)

Nitish Kumar today resigned as Bihar CM. (File photo/PTI)

Kumar's JD(U) asserted that it was not scared of ED and CBI following its break-up with the BJP, which rules the Centre

The JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar forming the government in Bihar after dumping the BJP was hailed by several Opposition leaders who called it a payback for engineering the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra and a “timely effort” to forge unity among secular forces. However, the BJP attacked the JD(U) leader for his switch with Union minister Giriraj Singh saying the RJD will wield real power in Bihar and that Kumar is serving his last term as chief minister.

Lashing out at the saffron camp, Bihar Congress in-charge Bhakta Charan Das quipped that “BJP-mukt Bihar” is the new message that has been sent out to people. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Bihar was no “Operation Lotus”.

“No cash caught. No ED raids. No Assam CM. No resort travel. All done in characteristic Bihar style, civilised & low-cost. CM gets support of largest party and others. In Maharashtra, BJP engineered defections. In Bihar, BJP was rejected and ejected,” he said in a tweet. Supporting Kumar’s decision to snap ties with the BJP, NCP chief Sharad Pawar accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of finishing off its regional allies gradually.

Speaking to reporters in Baramati town of Maharashtra’s Pune district, Pawar claimed the BJP was planning about how to weaken the Shiv Sena and create a division in the party. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress was brought down and was replaced by a government of the Shiv Sena breakaway faction led by Eknath Shinde and the BJP.

The BJP launched a stinging attack on Kumar over his switching back to the Mahagathbandhan. Giriraj Singh claimed Nitish Kumar is serving his last term as Bihar chief minister and will never get the chair again. Referring to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s old remarks in which he had described Kumar as a “snake”, Singh said that now the same snake has entered Yadav’s house for furthering his prime ministerial ambitions.

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi claimed the new government will fall before completing its term in 2025. Sushil Modi, who has known Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad for five decades, also said the JD(U) supremo insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of Bihar who had voted for the NDA.

Addressing a press conference, the former deputy chief minister alleged that Kumar will “ditch the RJD and try to split it, taking advantage of RJD boss Lalu Prasad’s illness. He refuted the JD(U)’s claims of a “conspiracy” hatched through RCP Singh, claiming that the former Union minister had been inducted into the cabinet after consent was obtained from Nitish Kumar by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“We will like to see how the new Bihar government functions with (RJD leader) Tejashwi as de facto CM; it will fall before next polls,” the BJP leader added. Sushil Modi also alleged that Kumar wanted to become the vice president and he dumped the BJP after the party failed to accommodate his ambitions.

The former deputy CM’s charge was rebutted by Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan, national president of Kumar’s JD(U), who also mocked Sushil Modi as a leader abandoned by the roadside by his own party as a punishment for close relations he had with Nitish Kumar. Several Opposition leaders hailed Kumar taking oath as chief minister for the eighth time to head a Mahagathbandan government for a second time.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said that the revival of the grand alliance in Bihar strengthened secular and democratic forces in the country. “Heartiest wishes to Thiru @NitishKumar and my brother @yadavtejashwi on taking oath as the CM & Dy CM of Bihar respectively. The return of the Grand Alliance in Bihar is a timely effort in the unity of secular and democratic forces of the country,” he said.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav congratulated Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav on taking over as Bihar’s chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively. Hailing the development in Bihar, Trinamool Congress MP Shatrughan Sinha said Kumar stands in the “front row” of the opposition camp along with Mamata Banerjee and others to end the “Modi raj” in the country in the 2024 parliamentary election.

Sinha said the JD(U) leader has given the BJP a taste of its own medicine after it dislodged governments of opposition parties in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the JD(U)-RJD alliance in Bihar should not be limited to government formation but become a genuine start to bring together secular and democratic forces in the country.

Kumar’s JD(U) asserted that it was not scared of ED and CBI following its break-up with the BJP, which rules the Centre. JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, who addressed a press conference to reply to the BJP’s charge of betrayal, accused the former ally of having deceived the coalition dharma.

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first published:August 10, 2022, 21:40 IST
last updated:August 10, 2022, 21:40 IST