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Nitish Kumar leaves BJP-NDA, to take oath as Bihar CM for 8th time today

IndiaNitish Kumar leaves BJP-NDA, to take oath as Bihar CM for 8th time today

#NitishKumar ended his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (#BJP) National Democratic Alliance to join hands with #RJD.

All eyes are glued on Bihar as rapidly changing developments are taking place.  Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ended his long-term alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) National Democratic Alliance and rejoined hands with RJD.  He also met with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi yesterday.

According to a tweet by Nitish Kumar’s new alliance partner RJD, the swearing-in ceremony will be held at 2 pm today at Raj Bhavan.

On 9 August, Nitish Kumar, 71, submitted his resignation as the chief minister heading the NDA coalition and said he submitted a list of 164 MLAs to Governor Phagu Chauhan. The effective strength of the state Assembly is 242 and the required number is 122. According to sources, the new cabinet will have representatives from the RJD and Congress besides JD(U). The Left parties will possibly give outside support to the new government “retaining their independent identity”.

There are seven parties including 164 MLAs along with independent MLA in our Mahagathbandhan, said Nitish Kumar at a joint presser with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav after meeting Bihar Governor.

Nitish Kumar is likely to take oath as Bihar’s Chief Minister again today while Tejashwi Yadav would become the deputy CM.  If he returns to power, this will be the eighth time when Nitish Kumar will be sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar.

The Political Journey of Nitish Kumar

In 1989, Nitish Kumar supported Janata Dal and backed Lalu Prasad Yadav as leader of the opposition in the Bihar Assembly.

In 1994, the Samata Party (SAP) formed by George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar was an offshoot of the Janata Dal, with the alleged casteism of the parent party being the reason given for the split.  The party has socialist leanings with strong political and social influence in North India, particularly in Bihar.

Later, n 1996, he joined the BJP and became a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet.

In March 2000, Nitish had served as the Chief Minister of the state for a little over seven days, but he resigned after taking the oath as the NDA and allies had 151 seats. RJD on the other hand had 159, so both fell short of the required 163 mark.

In 2003, the Samata Party merged with the Janata Dal of Sharad Yadav, while its partnership continued with the BJP. In the same year, the Janata Dal (United) was formed.

In 2005, in alliance with BJP, JD(U) came back to power as an NDA member.  In 2010, Nitish’s party came to power along with BJP as an ally and he again became the Chief Minister.

In 2013, the JDU leader ended his party’s ties with the BJP after 17 years. Later, he won a trust vote with support from Congress but in 2014 he stepped down. However, within a year, Kumar was back as the chief minister with support from the RJD and the Congress.

In 2017, the state assembly polls were won by the Grand Alliance of the JD(U), Congress and RJD. But the alliance tumbled in just two years when Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav’s name came up in a money laundering case. Nitish ended the alliance and resigned as the chief minister and was back in the office less than 24 hours after getting support from the BJP.

In 2020, he took the oath as the Bihar Chief Minister for the seventh time with the support of the BJP. In the elections, NDA has secured a 125-seat majority in the 243-seat strong Bihar Legislative Assembly of which BJP won 74 seats, JD(U) on 43 while eight seats were won by two other NDA constituents. The RJD, on the other hand, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats while the Congress only won 19 of the 70 seats it had contested on.

in 2022, after a turbulent road with the BJP with disagreements and rebuttals, Nitish Kumar ended his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) National Democratic Alliance and rejoined hands with RJD.

While the RJD tweet did not mention any names, it is widely expected that Nitish Kumar would be the chief minister while Tejashwi Yadav would become his deputy.

How Will This Affect the BJP?

This move is seen as a powerful ploy to dismantle the BJP’s hold over Bihar, the Hindi heartland from where a majority of its legislators come ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Besides upsetting the applecart, over the year, Nitish Kumar has expressed his displeasure about the BJP’s draconian way of dealing with things, such as the NRC, CAA, the Agnipath Scheme and other such moves.

Nitish Kumar told newspersons outside the Raj Bhavan, “It was decided at the party meeting that we quit the NDA. I have, therefore, resigned as the NDA’s Chief Minister”.

LJP leader Chirag Paswan accused Nitish Kumar of “insulting” the people’s mandate once again and demanded the imposition of President’s Rule in the state followed by fresh elections. Paswan also came out in support of the BJP and said the saffron party had accepted everything that Kumar wanted as chief minister and even compromised on its own policies.

However, in the last Bihar 2020 election, Tejashwi Yadav won the majority vote on his own, but the tie-up between Nitish and BJP evidenced Tejashwi Yadav’s loss.  While Nitish and BJP together won 125 seats, RJD Tejashwi Yadav was not far behind on his own with 110 seats, so he was the real winner taking the popular vote.

This move would probably weaken the BJP’s stronghold over the Hindi-speaking heartland of India for the upcoming 2024 elections.  Tying and buying would not work if the Opposition leaders remain united in their purposes and causes. The 2024 election is considered to seal the fate of India in the direction it goes, whether democratic or theocratic.

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