Patna: Nitish Kumar will take oath as Chief Minister of Bihar tomorrow at 2 pm, after he ditched the BJP on Tuesday and announced a new “Grand Alliance” which includes Tejashwi Yadav and other Opposition parties.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:
- “Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) of seven parties, one Independent will work closely,” Nitish Kumar said after his second meeting with the Governor today. In the first one, he resigned as Chief Minister of the government which consisted of his party, the Janata Dal United or JDU, and the BJP; less than an hour later, he returned to the Governor, accompanied by Tejashwi Yadav and other Opposition leaders, to state that they should be invited to form the next government based on their combined strength.
- “I have resigned, I have informed all my MLAs,” said Nitish Kumar after his first session with the Governor. He said the decision to split from the BJP – for the second time in nine years – was based on the feedback he received this morning at an interaction with his party’s legislators.
- Even as his party was meeting, Tejashwi Yadav, age 32, held a parallel session with his MLAs, where it was agreed that they would support Nitish Kumar in a new government. Tejashwi Yadav will serve as Deputy Chief Minister and oath along with Mr Kumar. “The BJP betrays all its allies and intimidates others,” he said at the news briefing with Nitish Kumar.
- The BJP has accused Nitish Kumar of “betraying the mandate of the people” by switching partners mid-term. This is an established trait of Nitish Kumar’s however, and one that has triggered vast criticism of his ideological flexibility and willingness to trade principles for power.
- Till 2013, Nitish Kumar was in partnership with the BJP, though it was a fractious collaboration once it became clear that Narendra Modi would emerge as the BJP’s main leader. He cut the chord with the BJP and in 2015 formed the government with Lalu Yadav and the Congress. Lalu Yadav, a Bihar veteran politician, is Tejashwi Yadav’s father. In 2017, Nitish Kumar stomped out of the three-party alliance, claiming that the insatiable corruption of Tejashwi Yadav as a minister could not be tolerated by him.
- After he reunited with the BJP, the parties have exchanged public criticism on issues large and small. In June, Nitish Kumar contradicted the Prime Minister by stating that while the centre had refused to conduct a caste census, in Bihar, the counting of castes would in fact take place. Tejashwi Yadav backed him fully on this move.
- Nitish Kumar’s anger with the BJP breached the danger mark over reports that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was foraging within the JDU for defectors. The Chief Minister felt that RCP Singh, a senior leader from his party, who had joined the union cabinet, was being used to turn the JDU against him. He therefore refused to extend RCP Singh’s term in the Rajya Sabha, which meant that the latter had to resign from PM Modi’s cabinet. On the weekend, Nitish Kumar’s aides publicly accused RCP Singh of corruption; in protest, he quit the JDU.
- Nitish Kumar felt that RCP Singh was part of a second conspiracy by the BJP to attenuate his standing, the first being the BJP’s tacit support of another regional leader, Chirag Paswan, to serve as a vote-cutter for Nitish Kumar in the last general election. Chirag Paswan put up his party’s candidates against the JDU; it was the BJP who gained. As Nitish Kumar thundered against Chirag Paswan, the BJP refused to criticise him.
- The BJP’s senior leaders from Bihar are flying to Patna to discuss the fallout. They include Sushil Kumar Modi and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
- Nitish Kumar felt that Amit Shah was attempting a repeat of the Maharashtra model in Bihar and ended the BJP alliance to pre-empt that. Uddhav Thackeray was forced to quit as Chief Minister after Eknath Shinde, a senior leader from his party, the Shiv Sena, instigated a huge revolt in partnership with the BJP. Eknath Shinde was rewarded by the BJP with the post of Maharashtra Chief Minister.