Bihar news Live: The Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) has called off its alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar, potentially drawing to a close its alliance for the second time in less than a decade. As per reports, JD(U) leaders attending the meeting convened by the Bihar Chief Minister in Patna have been informed of the decision to call off the alliance with BJP.
While a formal announcement to this effect is yet to come, Nitish Kumar has sought time to meet the Governor. According to news agency PTI, Nitish Kumar is set to meet the Governor at 4 PM today.
Bihar political crisis: Top Developments
Nitish Kumar ends alliance with BJP
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced at the meeting of JD(U) MLAs and MPs in Patna that the party is ending its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, reports said. A formal announcement to this effect is expected shortly.
Nitish to meet Bihar Governor
Nitish Kumar has sought time to meet Governor Phagu Chauhan today. According to PTI, the CM is expected to meet the Governor at 4 PM today. However, he is unlikely to submit his resignation during his meeting with the Governor and instead give him a list claiming the support of members of the Opposition parties including the RJD, Congress and the Left.
Driven against the wall: Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar, at the meeting he convened at his official residence, said that he had been driven against the wall by the BJP which tried to weaken the JD(U), reported PTI. He specifically cited the examples of Chirag Paswan’s rebellion and later through the party’s former national president RCP Singh who was made Cabinet minister in the Modi government without his approval. Singh had to step down as minister after the JD(U) refused to grant him another term as Rajya Sabha MP. Consequently, rumours of a split in the JD(U) engineered by Singh’s supporters surfaced.
RJD set to return to power
In an interesting turn of events, the Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal is set to return to power, five years after it was abandoned by Nitish resulting in the collapse of the Mahagathbandhan government in 2017. Celebrations broke out outside the residence of Rabri Devi as soon as indications came in that the JD(U) has decided to end its alliance with the BJP.
Nitish Kumar’s flip-flops
Nitish Kumar has deserted the NDA as well as the Grand Alliance in the past 10 years. In 2013, he walked out of NDA after it became clear that Narendra Modi would be the NDA’s PM candidate. In 2017, after forming government with the RJD, he walked out again citing the allegations of corruption against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav.
The Amit Shah factor
The JD(U) leaders have hinted at a conspiracy by the BJP to weaken the party and repeat the “Maharashtra model” in Bihar. RCP Singh, who bypassed Nitish to secure a Cabinet berth for himself, is being seen as the front for Amit Shah to run a similar operation that he allegedly ran against Uddhav Thackeray.
What happens next?
Nitish Kumar will meet Governor Phagu Chauhan today where he may submit his resignation and thereafter prove majority on the floor of the House with the support of RJD, Congress and Left parties, among others. The other option before him is to submit that he has called off his alliance with the BJP and provide the Governor with a list of RJD MLAs in his support and continue as CM. According to PTI, JD(U) sources have indicated that Kumar is unlikely to resign as CM and may simply seek to replace BJP ministers with those of other parties, which may support his party in continuing the government.
BJP goes into a huddle
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.
Role of Speaker
Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha is expected to play a key role in determining the legitimacy of any new government formation. Interestingly, the Speaker said his test reports have come out negative a day after he tested positive for COVID-19. The Health portfolio in Bihar is held by BJP’s Mangal Pandey.
How do the numbers stack up?
The RJD, with 79 MLAs in the 242-strong Assembly, is the single largest party in the state. It is followed by BJP at 77 and the JD(U) at 44. The magic figure required to claim a majority in the Assembly is 122. Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha has 4 MLAs, the Congress has 19 while the CPIML(L) has 12 and CPI and CPI(M) have two each. Besides, one MLA belongs to Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM.