Nitish Kumar Walks To NDA, Again: A Look At His Many Switches 

The stage is set for the Janata Dal (United) Supremo Nitish Kumar to return to BJP-led NDA again – marking his fourth such switch within a decade. 

JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar speaks with the media after submitting his resignation Photo: PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar submitted his resignation to the Governor today, setting stage for the Janata Dal (United) Supremo to return to BJP-led NDA again – marking his fourth such switch within a decade. 

His jump-ship is being seen as a blow to not just the ruling alliance or Mahagathbandhan in Bihar but to the INDIA opposition alliance as well – which Nitish Kumar spearheaded along with other senior leaders to take on the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

This is not the first time the eighth-term chief minister has switched parties, prompting many to infamously call him ‘paltu Kumar’ – the one who keeps changing his political position.

Here is a look at how many times Nitish Kumar has switched parties:


His first switch came in 2013 when he broke ties with the BJP, ending a 17-year alliance of the JD(U) and BJP. His reasons for severing ties with the saffron party were apparent – he disapproved of the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. While he contested the 2014 polls alone, his party managed to bag only two seats, whereas the BJP won the elections with a thumping majority. 


After being dealt a blow from BJP’s victory in the 2014 polls, Nitish Kumar resigned as the Chief Minister of Bihar, taking responsibility for JD(U)’s defeat. Months ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections in that year, Kumar survived a floor-test in the assembly with support from arch rival Lalu Kumar-led RJD. Thus formed the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or grand alliance of JD(U)-RJD-Congress that contested the state polls in 2015 and achieved a sweeping victory. While Kumar occupied the CM seat, Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav was appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister.


Nitish Kumar publicly backed BJP’s policies of demonetisation and GST, which caused fissures in the Mahagathbandhan. The final nail in the coffin that led to the collapse of the alliance was when CBI filed corruption cases against Lalu Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav. Nitish Kumar pressed for Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation as Dy. CM, but when he figured that this would not happen, he resigned from the CM post and parted ways with the alliance.  He then rejoined the BJP and occupied the CM post again.


In the 2020 polls in Bihar, Nitish Kumar was made the CM once again after the BJP-JDU alliance scored a majority. However, even within this alliance, BJP (74) performed better than JDU (43) in seat tally – relegating Kumar to a secondary position with lesser council of ministers in the assembly. Despite being in the alliance for a year, Kumar raised objections against BJP’s plans of creating a National Register of Citizens (NRC). He also alleged that BJP was ‘plotting’ to split the party. The alliance eventually collapsed in 2022. He was again welcomed by RJD and was made the Chief Minister of the state. 


Nitish Kumar was at the forefront of forming the opposition bloc of INDIA in 2023. During the meetings of the INDIA bloc, Kumar had rubbished rumours of disappointment with the alliance. Today after resigning, Kumar said, “I was hurt. I left the INDIA Alliance." "This situation came because not everything was alright...I was getting views from everyone. I listened to all of them. Today, the government has been dissolved," Nitish Kumar said, adding, "We have decided to sever ties with the Mahagathbandhan in the state.”