Political history repeated itself in Bihar after five years when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar did a turnaround on Tuesday and joined hands again with the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) whom he had dumped in 2017 on the issue of corruption. This time, Kumar parted ways with the BJP and was elected leader of the RJD-led mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). He staked claim before Governor Phagu Chouhan to form the next government with the support of 164 MLAs of seven parties.
“Will never compromise on the issue of corruption and do service to people of Bihar along with others”, Kumar told media persons after returning from the Raj Bhawan. Asked when he would be taking oath, he said, “it is up to the Governor to give time for the swearing-in ceremony”.
Earlier, after submitting his resignation, Kumar told journalists outside the Raj Bhawan, “in today’s [Tuesday’s] meeting of all my party MPs, MLAs, Council members and leaders they expressed their desire to snap ties with the BJP and immediately I accepted their desire and came to the Raj Bhawan to resign from my post of NDA’s Chief Minister”.
Sushil Modi dismisses allegations
Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi dismissed JD(U)'s allegations that the BJP wanted to break the party and made RCP Singh union minister without Nitish Kumar's consent. He said that JD(U) was looking for an excuse to break ties with BJP, and underlined that "BJP will come back to power with a thumping majority in 2024. It is a white lie that BJP had made RCP Singh Union minister without Nitishji's consent. It is also a lie that BJP wanted to break JD(U)," Modi said in a tweet.
Singh was made Union minister last year as JD(U) representative but forced to resign last month as his Rajya Sabha term ended and his party denied him another term.
Startling allegations of backstabbing were made against the BJP by MLAs and MPs of the JD(U) after which Kumar pulled the plug on the alliance. According to sources in the JD(U), who did not wish to be named, information, including call details, were shared which suggested that former national president RCP Singh, who resigned from the primary membership last week, had contacted “about a dozen MLAs and a minister at the BJP's behest, with the intention to split the party”.
The JD(U) lawmakers, who unanimously backed Kumar's decision to dump the BJP, were of the view that things went fine till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls which the two parties, along with late Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, had swept, winning all but one of the 40 seats in the state.
Several opposition leaders lauded Kumar for snapping ties with the BJP and embracing the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan to continue in office. This is the second time in nine years that Nitish left ally BJP out in the cold.
While Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav termed Kumar’s move as a “good start”, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) stated that no ally can safeguard its identity in the saffron camp.