Monday, Nov 28, 2022

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Resigns As NDA's Chief Minister, Stakes Claim To Form Grand Alliance Government

Nitish Kumar has been unanimously elected the leader of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan coalition that has now staked claim to government.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday resigned as "NDA's Chief Minister" and staked claim to form a new "Mahagathbandhan" (Grand Alliance) government.

Parting ways with his coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nitish on Tuesday joined the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD)-led bloc. He was unanimously declared the leader of the Mahagathbandhan, following which he met Governor Phagu Chauhan to stake claim to form the government. 

Nitish said he submitted a list of 164 MLAs to the governor who will decide when the oath-taking can take place. The effective strength of the Bihar assembly is 242 and 122 is the majority mark. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Nitish had met Chauhan to tender his resignation as BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Chief Minister in Bihar. 

After performing poorly in 2020 assembly elections and getting reduced to just 43 seats, Nitish had become chief minister with support from BJP that secured 74 seats and some other smaller parties. However, after over two years of simmering differences with the BJP, Nitish has now split from saffron party to form the government with RJD-led block, which also comprises of the Congress party and Left parties. 

After submitting his resignation to Chauhan, Nitish drove to the residence of former Chief Minister Rabri Devi where all leaders of the Grand Alliance had gathered. He was accompanied by JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan. They spent nearly half an hour at Rabri's residence. He returned along with Leader of the Opposition and his former deputy Tejashwi Yadav, who was armed with a letter of support to Kumar.

About 15 minutes later, Nitish met the Governor again to stake claim for forming a new government, this time accompanied by Yadav and senior colleagues in the JD(U) besides former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Differences between the BJP and JD(U) emerged soon after forming the government and the two differed on several issues politically and ideologically over the years, such as caste census, Hindutva, secularism, and Agnipath scheme. 

Nitish formed the government with BJP as he had no other option to become the chief minister and the BJP supported him to keep RJD bloc out of power. 

(With PTI inputs)