Nitish ends alliance with BJP, joins hands with RJD again


The Hindu

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Nitish ends alliance with BJP, joins hands with RJD again

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.
JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav leave after meeting Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan in Patna on August 9, 2022.

“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”. However, later, it was informed that Kumar will be taking oath as Chief Minister at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

After several flip-flops, Kumar this time would be taking oath as Chief Minister of Bihar for the eighth time since he first came to power in November 2005. 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”.

Earlier, in 2013, unhappy with the BJP when it announced Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, Kumar had allied with the RJD and the Congress to contest the Assembly elections in 2015 and formed the mahagathbandhan government in the State. But two years later, in 2017, citing corruption charges against RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who was his deputy in the Cabinet at the time, Kumar joined hands with the BJP once again. “He is palturam [Mr. turnaround] who does palti [turns] for lust of power and chief minister’s chair”, RJD chief Lalu Prasad had said at that time. Interestingly, it was Mr. Prasad, who is currently recuperating from his ill-health in Delhi, approved the proposal of alliance of his party again on Tuesday with Kumar. “I thank our party chief Lalu Prasad ji for approving a proposal for this alliance in the interest of Bihar and the country”, Mr. Tejashwi Yadav said.

Earlier in the day, all JD(U) MLAs, MPs, leaders had a meeting with Kumar at the Chief Minister’s official residence no 1, Anne Marg in which a decision was taken to snap ties with the BJP. Later Kumar went to the Raj Bhawan to submit his resignation. At the same time, a meeting of RJD MLAs and leaders was held at party leader Rabri Devi’s official residence 10, Circular Road. Later, the other mahagathbandhan allies such as the Congress and the Left parties too joined them when from the Raj Bhawan Kumar headed there to meet them. Later Kumar was elected leader of the mahagathbandhan and together with the letter of support of 164 MLAs, leaders of the alliance parties met the Governor to stake claim to form the government. A large number of mahagathbandhan supporters had gathered outside the Raj Bhawan to witness the political development unfolding every hour.

BJP leader and Union Minister Ashwini Choubey accused Kumar of being “opportunistic” and said those “betraying” Bihar want to create obstacles in its development.

The Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan slammed Kumar for insulting the people’s mandate for the second time and demanded the imposition of President’s Rule in the state followed by fresh elections. He also came out in support of the BJP amid the political turmoil in Bihar and said the saffron party had accepted everything that Kumar wanted as chief minister and even compromised on its own policies.

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