Nitish Kumar Exits INDIA, To Be Sworn In For 9th Time, 2 Oaths In 2 Years

Nitish Kumar met Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar and handed over his resignation

Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief MInister this morning. ANI


In his fifth flip-flop in a decade, Nitish Kumar today exited the alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rastriya Janata Dal and resigned as Bihar Chief Minister after days of political speculation. Soon after, he staked claim to form a new government with the support of the BJP, his former ally. 

Mr Kumar met Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar this morning and handed over his resignation. The Governor has asked Mr Kumar to continue as caretaker Chief Minister till a new government is in place. Later in the day, he submitted a letter of support from BJP legislators. The Governor has accepted the letter and Mr Kumar is set to return as Chief Minister for the ninth time. 

"I have resigned as Chief Minister and ended this government. I was getting suggestions from all around. I had quit an earlier alliance for a new tie-up. But the situation was not okay. So I have resigned," he told reporters shortly after putting in his papers.  

Mr Kumar said he took the decision following suggestions by his party members. "I was facing difficulties in working with this alliance. When I explained this to party members, they advised me to resign," he said.

He also referred to the INDIA alliance and how things were not moving. "I got an alliance forged, but nobody was doing anything," he said, in an apparent reference to the Opposition bloc that aims to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls this year. Mr Kumar was one of the Opposition leaders at the forefront of forging the INDIA bloc. His resignation comes as a massive setback to the Opposition bloc, months before it takes on the formidable BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.

In his first remarks after resignation, Mr Kumar also referred to a credit contest, apparently a swipe at his estranged ally, RJD. "People were claiming that they are doing all the work," Mr Kumar said. A political career that started with taking on the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency years, Mr Kumar had gained a reputation as a model of good governance in his earlier terms that came right after the corruption-tainted era of the RJD. Over the past decade, his repeated jumps across the political aisle have hit his popularity and his party JDU's electoral weight.

The BJP, which had last year said its doors have closed for Mr Kumar forever, has now joined hands with him again. BJP MLAs and state leaders held a meeting this morning, shortly before Mr Kumar reached the Raj Bhavan. BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde said. "All BJP MLAs have unanimously backed the proposal to form a BJP-JDU government again for the  welfare of the people of Bihar."

Mr Tawde said Bihar BJP president Samrat Choudhary has been chosen as the leader of the party in Assembly.  Vijay Sinha, he said, would be the BJP's deputy leader in the House. According to the BJP sources, both Mr Choudhary and Mr Sinha may be sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers to Mr Kumar, set for his ninth term in the top post. 

The new government, sources said, will have ministers from JDU, BJP and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular). Eight ministers will take oath with Nitish Kumar. These include BJP's two Deputy Chief Ministers, BJP's Dr Prem Kumar, JDU's Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Shravan Kumar, HAM's Santosh Kumar Suman and Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh.

Soon after Mr Kumar's resignation, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said he knew this would happen. In a swipe, he added that many people in the country are like 'Aaya Ram-Gaya Ram'.

"If he wanted to stay, he would have stayed, but he wants to go. We already knew this, but to keep the INDIA Alliance intact, if we said something wrong, a wrong message would have been be sent. This information was already given to us by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav. Today, it came true. There are many people in the country like 'Aaya Ram-Gaya Ram'," Mr Kharge said.