Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi's offer of a single cabinet spot for his party, said today that there was "no question" of joining the government now. He also said, in what seemed to be a pointed message for the BJP and PM Modi, that "votes in Bihar were not polled in the name of any personality".
On his return to Patna on Friday after attending PM Modi's oath ceremony, Nitish Kumar said: "No one should have any confusion that the victory which was registered by NDA in Bihar - it's the victory of the people of Bihar. If somebody is claiming that this is his personal victory, then they are delusional."
Asked about the possibility of the Janata Dal United joining the government later, Nitish Kumar grimly said there was "no need as the BJP had an overwhelming majority".
Nitish Kumar had, in discussions on Wednesday with Amit Shah - BJP president and now Union Home Minister - laid out his wish for two cabinet berths for the Janata Dal United (JDU). He said he was told each ally would be given one spot for "symbolic representation". The BJP, with 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, is well past the majority mark of 272 and doesn't really need its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The Chief Minister said after consulting with his party leaders back in Bihar, he had told Amit Shah that the BJP's offer was unacceptable to his party, and that allies should be given "proportional representation", not "symbolic representation".
Nitish Kumar emphasized, however, that his party would remain firmly with the NDA.
The JDU won 16 of Bihar's 40 seats while the BJP won all 17 seats it contested.
"We told the BJP if they really wanted to give only symbolic representation, then there was no need for it. A real share in the government should be proportional representation," Nitish Kumar said.
"We formed an alliance for the sake of Bihar. We have no wish for symbolic shares. We told the BJP we are with you anyway," Mr Kumar told reporters.