Having taken oath for a record eighth time as the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar today came out all guns blazing against his former alliance partner the Bharatiya Janata Party. Rubbishing claims by the BJP that the Mahagathbandhan government will not last till the next Assembly elections scheduled in the state for 2025, Nitish said that the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre should worry about its own prospects in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
“Those who came to power in 2014, will they be victorious in 2024? I would like all (Opposition parties) to be united for 2024. I am not a contender for any such post,” he said taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Reacting to the BJP’s claims that the alliance between the RJD and JDU will not see the finish line, Nitish said the government will do just fine. “The party made the decision together (to leave BJP)…whether I will stay or not (till 2025)…they (BJP) can say what they want, but I will not live in the year 2014,” Nitish told news agency ANI.
At 2 PM on Wednesday, Governor Phagu Chauhan administered oath of office to Nitish Kumar as the CM of Bihar. RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, who also took oath with Nitish will take over as his Deputy. Sources in the seven-party ruling coalition, which includes one Independent legislator, said that a cabinet expansion would take place later.
Former Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi earlier hit out at Nitish Kumar for severing ties with the BJP. “We made you Chief Minister five times. We had a relationship for 17 years. But you severed ties with us twice,” Modi said, addressing a press conference ahead of the oath-taking ceremony held at Raj Bhavan earlier today.
Countering allegations that the saffron party was trying to break the JD(U), the BJP MP said, “They are saying that attempts were being made to break JD(U), an example of Shiv Sena is being given. Shiv Sena was not our ally, it was the ruling party there. You (JDU) were our ally. We have never broken any of our allies.”
Notably, leaders of the BJP who collectively command 77 seats in the 242-Member Bihar Assembly, were conspicuous with their absence from the oath-taking ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan. Modi had claimed that the party had received “no invitation” to be part of the ceremony.