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CM, Tejashwi to stake claim to form new govt

Bihar endgame: Alliance with BJP over, Nitish tells party

Tejashwi to hand over letters of support to chief minister after RJD, Congress and Left agree to back chief minister; Governor's appointment at 4pm
Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar
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Our Web Desk   |   Published 09.08.22, 01:20 PM

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  • Nitish Kumar arrives at Raj Bhavan

Amid hectic political moves in Bihar where the ruling NDA government appears to be on the brink of disintegration, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is likely to meet Governor Phagu Chauhan in Patna later on Tuesday, sources said.

Nitish, who has been promised the support of Opposition parties, sought time from Chauhan, who has given an appointment at 4 pm, they said, according to PTI.

At a meeting with party MPs and MLAs on Tuesday, Nitish told them that the alliance with the BJP was over.

A meeting of the RJD-led Grand Alliance, comprising the Left and the Congress, also took place at Rabri Devi's house, across the street from the chief minister's residence where all the MLAs are said to have signed a letter of support to Nitish.

Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav is likely to visit the CM's residence to hand over the letter of support any time. They are then scheduled to march to Raj Bhavan together, said sources. 

The CM is understood to have told party legislators and MPs, at the meeting he convened at his official residence, that he had been driven against the wall by the BJP which tried to weaken his JD(U), first by propping up Chirag Paswan's rebellion and later through the party's former national president RCP Singh.

Singh was made a cabinet minister at the Centre without Kumar's explicit agreement. Consequently, when his term as a Rajya Sabha member ended, the JD(U) refused to give him another term as an MP, thus ending his stint as cabinet minister as well. Following this, rumours of a split in the JD(U) engineered by Singh's supporters surfaced.

Relations between the BJP and the JD(U) have been worsening for quite some time in the wake of disagreements over a host of issues including caste census, population control and the Agnipath' defence recruitment scheme.

CPIML (Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya had told PTI on Monday the crux of the row between JD(U) and BJP also stemmed from the recent statement by J P Nadda, president of the saffron party, who said regional parties have no future .

The BJP, meanwhile, has gone into a huddle at the residence of Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad, where all ministers belonging to the party besides state president Sanjay Jaiswal and other senior leaders are also present.

BJP sources said they will wait till Nitish Kumar makes the first move.

Nitish is an old hand at switching sides, his serial somersaults earning him the moniker of “Paltu Ram” (turncoat).

Neither the BJP nor the Opposition Grand Alliance can form the government in Bihar without the JDU, unless one of the bigger parties splits or sworn enemies BJP and RJD join hands.

The RJD now has 79 seats in the 243-member Assembly, followed by the BJP (77), JDU (45), Congress (19), the Left (16), HAMS (4) and the AIMIM (1). There’s an Independent MLA while one seat is vacant.

The JD(U) enjoys the support of four MLAs of former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha and the lone Independent.

Nitish parted ways with Lalu Prasad and joined the NDA during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s days, before dumping the BJP in 2013 when Narendra Modi was declared the alliance’s prime ministerial candidate. He tied up with the RJD and the Congress to win the 2015 Assembly polls, and then returned to the NDA in July 2017.

Ties between the ruling partners had worsened since the 2020 elections that turned the JDU into the junior partner with fewer seats, with Nitish suspecting the BJP of using former ally LJP, led by Chirag Paswan, to slander him and cut into his votes.

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