Nitish Kumar makes dramatic comeback after shocking resignation, leaves Mahagathbandhan in pieces

Former chief minister Nitish Kumar responded to his "inner voice" and around 6.30 pm on Wednesday he drove to the Raj Bhavan in Patna to hand over his resignation to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. Before he did so he rang up RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Congress central party in-charge for Bihar CP Joshi to deliver them his hard hitting shocker.

 Nitish Kumar makes dramatic comeback after shocking resignation, leaves Mahagathbandhan in pieces

Former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Image courtesy News18

Two days ago Firstpost had published that Wednesday, 26 July could turn out to be a crucial date in the political calendar of Bihar saying there was a great deal of private talk in the informed circles of JD(U) in Bihar that Nitish might make a pre-emptive strike before the Monsoon Session of the Bihar Assembly.

Nitish's resignation would be hugely disappointing to the Congress and its 17 allied parties in the Opposition ranks. His decision to quit from the chief minister's post has larger implications — not just limited to politics and governance in Bihar but altering national political alignment. The message for the likes of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, D Raja, Karunanidhi and others is loud and clear -- not only the grand coalition government in Bihar has fallen but what has actually been shattered to pieces is their dream of stitching grand coalition of opposition forces against Narendra Modi in 2019 parliamentary election.

Nitish Kumar, after all, has been the most credible face of the opposition. His departure from opposition ranks is going to badly hurt badly Sonia, Rahul Gandhi and their allied parties. What would be most damaging for Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav (who on his own has become the spokesman of so called secularist, perceived UPA 3 brigade) is the revelation by Nitish that the RJD chief's plea stressed more on bailing Lalu Prasad out in this distressing time for him personally. That speaks volume of the political character of the leaders who make desperate attempts to save coalition not on the basis of substance but on the basis of rhetoric.

What should cause concern in the Congress camp is the public revelation of contents of conversation Nitish had with Rahul Gandhi where he had reminded Congress vice president of the ordinance tearing act in September 2013, a draft ordinance which was prepared Manmohan Singh government with the purpose of saving Lalu. The JD(U) was also angry over Congress' "stony silence" on the corruption issue against its own chief minister in Himachal Pradesh, Vibhadra Singh and on alliance partner Lalu.

This is for the third time Nitish Kumar has resigned as the chief minister of Bihar -- first in March 2005 when he did not have majority numbers on his side in the state assembly. Second, after losing the parliamentary election in May 2014 and this time he resigned on the issue of integrity and probity. In 1999 after the Gaisal train accident Nitish resigned as the raiway minister. History proves that each time Nitish resigned he has only become stronger and returned to occupy the same post from which he resigned.

Given the fast developing political situations, Nitish Kumar is sure to make a comeback as chief minister, for the sixth time of the state, in next few days with the support of his erstwhile ally, the BJP. The conclusion was not hard to draw given the fact that BJP called for its highest decision-making body, Parliamentary Board less than an hour after Nitish submitted his resignation to Governor Tripathi.

Two tweets from Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the situation amply clear as to which direction things could move:

In Bihar, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said the party was not in favour of a mid-term poll and state party unit will give its feedback to the central party leadership to take a considered decision.

It is interesting to note that on 5 February at an event at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, Nitish in full public view had used the brush to paint the lotus, BJP's symbol. That had heightened speculations, which is now proving to be true.

Earlier in the day, Firstpost had published that the Governor of Bihar Keshari Nath Tripathi (who also happens to be the governor of West Bengal) has rescheduled his programme and had extended his stay in Patna. Tripathi was otherwise scheduled to return to Kolkata after attending a convocation programme of Nalanda University. It is now clear that his decision to stay in Patna was guided by a request from concerned quarters to conclude a specific business.

By taking a categorical stand on fight against corruption, and by resigning from the chief minister's post over corruption charges against his alliance partner RJD and two of his ministers deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and minister Tej Pratap (both sons of Lalu Prasad), Nitish has enhanced his own image as a non-nonsense man who has the courage and capacity to walk his talk. His words "I can't compromise on my values....I couldn't go back from my stated stance on zero tolerance on corruption and benami property.." has a worthwhile resonance today.

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Updated Date: Jul 27, 2017 06:27:21 IST