- Nitish Kumar broke off alliance with Congress, Lalu Yadav in Bihar
- Rahul Gandhi says decision in Nitish Kumar's self-interest, for power
- We knew this planning was going on for three-four months: Rahul Gandhi
Nitish Kumar took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the sixth time today after a dramatic reunion with the BJP, a party he had snapped ties with over the elevation of Narendra Modi as its top face before the 2014 national election. Last evening, he resigned abruptly and torpedoed the mahagatbandhan or grand coalition he had formed with Lalu Yadav and the Congress in 2015.
Mr Gandhi accused Mr Kumar of betraying the "people's mandate for anti-communal politics" by joining hands with the "same people". "To tell you the truth, we knew this planning was going on for three-four months. In politics you get to know what's in a person's mind. I was aware of the conspiracy," he said.
Mr Kumar's stunning move followed days of churning over ally Lalu Yadav's stubborn refusal to allow son Tejashwi's removal as deputy chief minister over corruption charges. On Saturday in Delhi, Mr Kumar held discussions with Mr Gandhi, who had been tasked by his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to try and keep him from wavering.
Mr Kumar's assessment of that meeting was brutal last evening: "I met Rahul Gandhi who had torn an ordinance that sought to enable people sentenced to more than two years in jail to contest elections. But except for some superficial talk, nothing happened." The ordinance that he referred to was seen at the time as an attempt to protect tainted politicians like Lalu Yadav.
Mr Kumar's party said it was Congress that had let the Chief Minister down.
"Corruption is in the DNA of Congress ...they have let us down big time and wanted us to turn a blind eye to corruption charges," said Janata Dal United leader KC Tyagi. He added: "Instead of siding with honest Nitish, they preferred to back corrupt Lalu."