A big political earthquake has hit Bihar as Nitish Kumar has resigned as the Chief Minister of the state. Kumar submitted his resignation to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi today. Kumar took the decision to quit at a meeting of JDU MLAs in the evening. The meeting of JDU MLAs was chaired by Kumar amid rift with RJD over the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. Kumar has always been quite particular about maintaining his image of a Chief Minister who does not stand corruption. He even talked about holding a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ on corruption. This development comes weeks after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a corruption case against the RJD supremo, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi and a few more people. These raids were based on allegations of giving the tender for development, maintenance and operation of hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006. After his resignation, Kumar told reporters, “The corruption allegations have been too much. I have quit in the interest of Bihar”
Earlier in the day, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav ruled out the stepping down of Tejashwi saying, “Tejashwi Yadav will not resign, Nitish Kumar didn’t ask for his resignation”. He claimed that there is no bitterness between him and Nitish Kumar. He said, “No bitterness between me and Nitish. Spoke to him yesterday. Media trying to crack our alliance.” Meanwhile, Tejashwi Yadav talked to TV channels and said that there is a ‘political vendetta’. He had claimed that nobody had asked for his resignation and these were ‘false and baseless’ allegations against him. Attacking the BJP, the Deputy CM had said, “BJP is trying to break Mahagathbandhan.” He said, “I was never asked to resign. It’s RSS-BJP which wants to break the grand alliance, people can see through their conspiracy.” Even Nitish Kumar confirmed that he did not ask for his resignation. However, he said, “I had only asked Lalu for an explanation.” He added, “I wanted RJD to act on the Tejashwi issue but sadly they did not.”
Nitish Kumar, after submitting his resignation to Bihar Governor, told reporters, “It has become very difficult to work under these circumstances.” He added that the situation had come to a point where it was impossible to continue working as the Chief Minister.” He said that he worked for the interests of Bihar and he kept his promises made during elections. Kumar added that he worked within the rules of an alliance and continued to work for 20 months, but there was no point in continuing. Kumar kept reiterating his stance against corruption and cited examples like the state wise alcohol ban. He said, “The current environment is not conducive to work. I had only asked for an explanation regarding the charges, from Lalu and Tejashwi.”
Meanwhile, embroiled in the fiasco, Lalu Prasad Yadav had always maintained the stance that the graft charges and CBI raids were an effect of a political motivation by the BJP government. CBI had raided several premises of Yadav and his family members regarding alleged irregularities in awarding a tender for maintenance of hotels. CBI had said that the people involved also included former Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Managing Director P.K. Goyal, and the wife of Lalu’s confidante Prem Chand Gupta, Sujata. Meanwhile, Lalu had said that a FIR cannot be the reason for Tejashwi’s resignation.