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Nitish resigns as Bihar CM, but says no need to dissolve Assembly

Patna, May 17 (Agencies): Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister of Bihar on Saturday, after his Janata Dal (United) party was routed by the Narendra Modi wave and left with just two of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from the state.

However, he has not sought dissolution of the Assembly.

”The Lok Sabha election results have not been good for JD(U). The people's mandate has to be respected. So I have tendered the resignation of my council of ministers. I had led the campaign. So it is my duty to respect take moral responsibility and I must take,” he told reporters after sending the resignation to Governor D Y Patil.

Nitish, 63, said a meeting of the JD(U) Legislature Party has been called to elect a new leader.

His decision to break ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party in June last year over the elevation of Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has wiped out the JD(U), which had been a partner in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for 17 years.

Nitish maintained that there was no threat to his government.

In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, the JD(U) has 115 members while BJP has 89 and Rashtriya Janata Dal 21. The JD(U) has the support of four members of Congress, one of Communist Party of India and two independents. There are six vacancies.

The JD(U) had bagged 20 seats in the 2009 general elections. This time, most of its senior leaders such as Sharad Yadav and state ministers lost. The party just about scraped through in the Nalanda seat, considered the pocket borough of Nitish Kumar, by a small margin of 9,627 votes.

The JD(U) had contested 38 seats and had an alliance with the CPI in two seats. But it won only in Purnea and Nalanda.

The elections have brought a windfall for the NDA, which won 31 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, while routing the JD(U) and RJD.

The total tally of BJP and its allies was only one short of the 2009 figure when it contested under the leadership of Nitish Kumar in the state.

Riding on the Modi wave, BJP candidates romped home in 22 seats. The BJP had won only five seats in 2004 and 12 in 2009.

The BJP’s vote percentage, which was 14.57 per cent in 2004 and 13.93 per cent in 2009, increased to a huge 35 per cent this time.

Actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha, who was shown black flags during campaign, won with an impressive margin of 2.65 lakh against nearest rival, Kunal Singh of the Congress.

Former union home secretary R K Singh, fielded by the BJP, won comfortably from Arrah.

The BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy emerged as the giant killer, defeating the RJD's Rabri Devi at Saran, a constituency considered the pocket- borough of Lalu Prasad, Rabri’s husband and former chief minister.