Nitish Kumar, After Resigning, Says 'It Was Suffocating'

Hours before Nitish Kumar's shock move, ally Lalu Yadav had defiantly ruled out son Tejashwi's resignation over corruption charges.

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Nitish Kumar has resigned as the Bihar Chief Minister, said "I waited enough."

Patna: 

Highlights

  1. 'Had to quit because my conscience pricked me,' says Nitish Kumar
  2. 'Tried to do whatever was possible in 20 months': Nitish Kumar
  3. Earlier today, Lalu Yadav ruled out son Tejashwi's resignation
Shaking up national politics, Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned as Bihar's Chief Minister and said it had become impossible for him to function in the coalition government he had formed two years ago with Lalu Yadav and the Congress after the BJP's defeat in the state. "I felt suffocated, my conscience pricked me... there was no other way," he said in comments that were immediately welcomed by the BJP. Mr Kumar will now form the government with the BJP and will take oath today morning.

"I tried to do my best in 20 months. But in this atmosphere it was simply not possible for me to work in the alliance," Mr Kumar told reporters this evening after meeting Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

Hours before Mr Kumar's abrupt resignation, RJD chief Lalu Yadav had defiantly ruled out son Tejashwi's resignation as Deputy Chief Minister over corruption charges. Mr Yadav's stance set the wheels turning and a big announcement before the day ended was almost certain.

But instead of forcing Tejashwi's exit, as had been widely speculated, Mr Kumar stunned everyone by resigning. This is the third dramatic exit in his career.

"I waited enough. I never asked anyone to resign. I asked Tejashwi to explain the charges to the people," Mr Kumar said.

"It wouldn't be right if I didn't take a stand, I don't do politics of this kind," he said, apparently referring to the Yadavs, who are accused of acquiring prime land illegally and were recently raided by the CBI.

In 2013, Nitish Kumar he had ended ties with the BJP over the party's decision to elevate Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial face. In his brief comments outside the governor's house Raj Bhawan in Patna, Mr Kumar referred to his support to PM Modi's demonetisation - which was interpreted by many as the first sign that he was gravitating towards the BJP and eager to drop a tainted ally.

"I supported demonetisation as it was in the interest of the public...but I was accused of various things by political parties," he said.

In a series of tweets that emerged almost at the same time as he was speaking to reporters, PM Modi praised Mr Kumar for "joining the fight against corruption".

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