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Bihar political crisis highlights: Nitish Kumar's decision to join NDA may split JD(U) as Sharad Yadav calls for meeting

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar unexpectedly resigned on Wednesday, but hours later joined hands with the BJP to reclaim the government in a stunning political manoeuvre that relegated his alliance partner RJD to the opposition.

FP Politics July 28, 2017 11:00:54 IST
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Bihar political crisis highlights: Nitish Kumar's decision to join NDA may split JD(U) as Sharad Yadav calls for meeting

Highlights

12:44 (ist)

Nitish has been sworn-in as Bihar chief minister 6 times in the past 12 years


Nitish Kumar has been sworn in as Bihar chief minister for the sixth time in 12 years. The Janata Dal (United) chief, in a surprising move, deserted the Grand Alliance and is all set to form the government in Bihar with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Here is a look at Nitish's political career:

On 3 March, 2000 the then Samata Party leader Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Bihar chief minister. 

On 24 November, 2005, Nitish staged a comeback as state chief minister with the support of BJP. 

Presiding over the top most post in the state, Nitish Kumar on 26 November 2010 became Bihar chief minister for the second consecutive time.

On 22 February 2015, Nitish took oath as the Bihar chief minister for the fourth time. Nitish had succeeded Jitan Ram Manjhi, who had resigned from his office on 20 February, 2015.

On 20 November, 2015, Nitish Kumar took oath as Bihar’s 35th chief minister. 

In a jolt to Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Grand Alliance, Nitish Kumar on Wednesday tenderd his resignation merely an hour after Lalu reasserted that their was no bitterness in the alliance.

09:50 (ist)

Nitish Kumar's resignation sounds the death knell for 'secularism' as a political platform

Amid a fast-paced turn of events that would put even Christopher Nolan's movies to shame, Bihar's ex-chief minister Nitish Kumar is slated to be sworn in as the state's next chief minister at 10 am on Thursday morning. The evening that started with the JD(U) chief tendering his resignation from the chief minister's post and dealing a fatal blow to the Mahagathbandhan, ended with him firmly in the driver's seat, poised to return as chief minister this time with NDA's support. It was easier perhaps to keep track of the wickets that fell during India's last 10 overs against England in the final of ICC Women's World Cup last Sunday.

A plethora of narratives emerged from the potboiler, none as striking as the futility of 'secularism' as a political platform. When Nitish Kumar walked over to the BJP ditching his 'grand alliance' with RJD and Congress, the death knell for 'secularism' as a political slogan was well and truly sounded. It has now become a corrupted, discredited word — a totem for everything between Congress-style mediocrity to RJD-style corruption.

A more compelling platform has emerged in its place. Championed by BJP, the magnetism of 'anti-corruption' as a political slogan is evident. So strong is its appeal that from Ram Vilas Paswan to Nitish Kumar, all self-styled champions of 'secularism' are reneging on their stated positions on 'communalism' and joining hands with BJP under the 'anti-corruption' umbrella. Politics follows the power principle, not moral codes. Suddenly, Narendra Modi and BJP are no longer political untouchables, but the fulcrum around which national politics revolves.

Timing is everything. 

09:32 (ist)

History will record Nitish Kumar as an opportunistic politician, not as a guardian of pure politics

Nitish Kumar has made a historical blunder by cosying up to the BJP. While the entire country was looking up to him to lead an anti-BJP alliance in the 2019 elections, he has chosen to betray his own destiny by becoming a minion of India's ruling clique, giving up the opportunity to become the leader of its opposition and a possible shot at greatness.

Several decades later, when the history of Indian politics is written, the current chapter of politics is revisited in the light of facts — not fiction or hyperbole — Kumar would be mentioned in a footnote as someone who promised greatness but embraced opportunism, bringing about his own political demise.

Kumar's decision to resign as Bihar's chief minister, though understandable, is shocking. It smacks not just of hypocrisy but also of opportunism on steroids. That he decided to quit as Bihar's chief minister and then return within a few hours with the support of the BJP points at a scripted drama whose denouement was decided in consultation with his one time rivals to the detriment of his current allies. 

09:18 (ist)

Game over for RJD as JD(U), BJP have the numbers to form govt

With BJP's backing, Nitish intends to stake claim to form the government. On Thursday, he will take oath as Bihar chief minister to return to his seat, while BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi will also swear-in, but as the deputy chief minister to replace Tejashwi Yadav. Even though Nitish's masterstroke has not gone down well with Tejashwi, there is nothing that the RJD supremo's son can do about it.

The JD(U)-BJP combination has the numbers in the Bihar Assembly to prove its majority. Together, the JD(U) and NDA allies have 129 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, seven more than the magic figure of 122.

While RJD has 80 MLAs, even if it tries to form alliance with Congress, which has 27 MLAs, and CPI-ML, which has three, their number would only add up to 110. There are four independent MLAs who are likely to throw their weight behind the coalition which enjoys majority support.

09:14 (ist)

After resignation, Nitish Kumar's biggest challenge is to keep the JD(U) united

After resigning from the post of chief minister, Nitish Kumar's biggest challenge would be to keep his own party united. Leaders from Congress and RJD have already started criticising his move, alleging that the JD(U) leader always intended to join hands with BJP.

In a meeting held to discuss the land graft case involving Lalu Prasad's son and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, against whom CBI has filed an FIR in a land graft case, many JD(U) leaders voiced their concerns amid opposition from some party men.

Bijendra Yadav, MLA and commerce minister in Nitish's cabinet, warned the JD(U) chief against joining hands with the BJP. He said, "Nitishji, (the) people of Bihar have elected you and Lalu both. Any attempt to scuttle the alliance would have serious repercussions."

On Wednesday, just before Nitish was to meet his legislative members, MLA Poonam Devi, who is also from the Yadav community, openly said that he would defend Tejashwi in the meeting. Out of the 71 JD(U) MLAs, 18 of them are Muslims or Yadavs. Both communities have always supported Lalu.

08:01 (ist)

RECAP How Nitish stunned Bihar | Tejashwi says RJD will stake claim to government too

In what will be remembered as one of the quickest political developments and manoeuvering, Nitish Kumar quit as Bihar chief minister on Wednesday only to stage a dramatic comeback. "In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government," Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi.

But in a series of fast-paced developments that unfolded over the next few hours it became clear that Kumar was going to be the ultimate winner. First, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised him for his "honesty" in standing up to corruption. Then the BJP said it would support him, and its legislators met Kumar's JD(U) MLAs.

After the meeting, Kumar, accompanied by senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi drove to Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government.

Modi later told journalists that a list of 132 MLAs supporting the alliance was submitted to the governor who has invited Kumar to form the government. These include 71 of JD(U), BJP 53, RLSP 2, LJP 2, HAM 1 and three Independents.

The JD(U)-BJP combine may have the numbers in the Bihar Assembly to prove its majority, but RJD appeared in no mood to give up without a fight, with Tejashwi Yadav saying he would stake claim to form the next government.

"Have sought appointment with the governor. Will stake claim to form government as the the single largest party. Will also get the support of JD(U) MLAs who have won after defeating BJP candidates," Tejashwi tweeted.

The numbers are, however, stacked against him. The JD(U) and NDA allies together have 129 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, seven more than the magic figure of 122. support.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

July 28, 2017 - 13:59 (IST)

Tejashwi Yadav pulls out old Sushil Modi, Nitish Kumar tweets to take a dig in NDA govt

 

July 28, 2017 - 13:55 (IST)

Nitish Kumar leaves from Bihar Assembly after winning trust vote

July 28, 2017 - 13:52 (IST)

At least 10 RJD MLAs would have voted for us if there was secret ballot: Sushil Modi

"An unnatural alliance died natural death," Sushil Modi said as he lauded Nitish for not 'bending the knee' to keep the alliance alive. He said that the RJD was seeking vote through secret ballot but if that would have happened "then at least 10-12 people from RJD would have crossed over to our side," Modi said.  

July 28, 2017 - 13:30 (IST)

JD(U) MLAs celebrate outside Assembly

July 28, 2017 - 13:30 (IST)

July 28, 2017 - 13:30 (IST)

July 28, 2017 - 13:28 (IST)

Tejashwi Yadav questions Nitish Modi's intention, says Sushil Modi too has FIR against him

Tejashwi said that the people of the Bihar are feeling cheated, adding that RJD will take the fight to every village. He said, "I asked many questions to the CM but he had no answers. Will he now pass a law with the BJP that every person who has an FIR should resign from public office? Will he bring liquor ban across the nation" Tejashwi asked. He said that Sushil Modi too had a case against him, how is it that he is fit to be deputy chief minister in Nitish's eye then. 

July 28, 2017 - 13:23 (IST)

Tejashwi was just an excuse, Nitish plotted to bring down government: Tejashwi Yadav

July 28, 2017 - 13:21 (IST)

Bihar had to see four governments in four years, only because of one man: Tejashwi Yadav

Tejashwi Yadav blamed Nitish Kumar for bringing insatbility to Bihar. He said that if Nitish had to make the government with BJP's support why did he waste so much time and public funds on election. 

July 28, 2017 - 13:19 (IST)

Nitish Kumar did all the drama to sit in the lap of RSS-BJP: Tejashwi Yadav

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar unexpectedly resigned on Wednesday, but hours later joined hands with the BJP to reclaim the government in a stunning political manoeuvre that relegated his alliance partner RJD to the opposition.

The ostensible reason for Kumar to quit was his falling out with Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, the son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad. Yadav is facing corruption charges but had refused to step down despite Kumar's exhortations.

"In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government," Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi.

But in a series of fast paced developments that unfolded over the next few hours it became clear that Kumar was going to be the ultimate winner. First, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised him for his "honesty" in standing up to corruption. Then the BJP said it would support him, and its legislators met Kumar's JD(U) MLAs. After the meeting, Kumar, accompanied by senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi drove to Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government.

Modi later told journalists that a list of 132 MLAs supporting the alliance was submitted to the governor who has invited Kumar to form the government. These include 71 of JD(U), BJP 53, RLSP 2, LJP 2, HAM 1 and three Independents.

He said the swearing-in ceremony will be held at 10 am tomorrow. It would be Kumar's 6th term as chief minister.

The JD(U)-BJP combine will now return to power after four years in the politically volatile state. Prodded by Kumar, the JD(U) had walked out of the NDA in July 2013 after Narendra Modi was nominated head of the BJP's campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

However, in no mood to give up without a fight, Tejashwi Yadav earlier said the RJD being the single largest party in the state would stake claim to form the government.

"Have sought appointment with the governor. Will stake claim to form government as the the single largest party. Will also get the support of JD(U) MLAs who have won after defeating BJP candidates," Tejashwi tweeted.

However, the numbers are stacked against him. The JD(U), BJP, their allies and supporting independent MLAs together account for 132 seats in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, 10 more than the magic figure of 122.

Bihar political crisis highlights Nitish Kumars decision to join NDA may split JDU as Sharad Yadav calls for meeting

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with senior leader of BJP Sushil Kumar Modi at legislators meeting in Patna on Wednesday. PTI

RJD has 81 MLAs and even if Congress with 27 MLAs and CPI-ML (03) decide to back Tejashwi, their number would add up to 110.

Reacting sharply to the governor inviting Nitish Kumar for the swearing-in at 10 am after giving him an appointment for 11 am, Tejashwi said RJD would stage a dharna outside Raj Bhavan against it.

"Governor gv us time of 11AM and now suddenly has asked NDA for oath ceremony at 10AM. Why so much hurry & rush Mr. Honest & Moral?" he tweeted well past midnight.

"If Nitish Ji is proud of his moral values & honesty, He would not had been in midnight rush to stake claim for govt. Honest man doesn't fear," he said in a series of tweets.

He claimed half of JD(U) MLAs were in touch with him which forced Kumar to rush to Raj Bhavan at midnight to stake claim to form the government.

Earlier, citing irreconcilable differences with the senior ally over corruption charges against Tejashwi, son of Lalu Prasad, Kumar announced his resignation after meeting Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi, hours after the RJD supremo rejected outright the demand for his son's ouster.

Kumar's resignation capped days of stand-off between his party JD(U) and the RJD, with the former insisting that Tejashwi defend himself against the allegations.

Tensions simmered between the two alliance partners ever since the CBI registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his wife and former chief minister Rabri devi and son Tejashwi in a land-for-hotels case.

The offence was allegedly committed when Lalu was the railway minister in the UPA government. He was allegedly instrumental in handing over the maintenance of two hotels of Indian Railways-owned PSU ICRTC to two Patna businessmen in return for a prime plot of land in the Bihar capital where his family is now constructing a shopping mall.

As suspense mounted over Kumar's next step following his resignation, BJP quickly seized upon the opportunity to reunite with its old ally, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising Kumar for "joining the fight against corruption", saying the entire nation supports his honesty.

Kumar responded quickly tweeting: "I thank the prime minister from the core of my heart for praising my decision (of quitting)."

The state and central BJP leadership swiftly got in touch and Sushil Kumar Modi, who was Kumar's deputy when the two parties ran a coalition government, said his party was not in favour of a mid-term election.

Modi said BJP has decided to back the JD(U) leader in forming the next government and will be a part of it.

The development has left Tejashwi out of the government, and his father emasculated, at least for now. Also, the Congress, part of the grand alliance, stands diminished politically.

Earlier, after putting in his papers, Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan he had favoured opposition unity but that was not possible when it only had a "reactive agenda".

"I favoured opposition unity...but what kind of opposition unity was going to be there...there was no discourse, no agenda. Having a reactive agenda will not do," he said.

"Needs can be met, but not greed," he said, apparently referring to graft charges against Tejashwi and other members of Lalu Prasad's family.

Kumar also said that while supporting demonetisation he had called for a crackdown on benami properties and that he cannot back out now.

Several members of Lalu Prasad's family, including his MP daughter Misa Bharti and son-in-law Shailesh Kumar, are embroiled in cases related to possessing benami properties (immovable properties not registered in the name of the real owners) bought with tainted money.

 

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