Socialist Nitish Kumar has once again shown that he is a politician and opportunist par excellence. In one of the swiftest change of political partners, Nitish dumped Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the Congress to once again embrace the Right-wing BJP for the CM’s office. Hours after he announced his resignation on Wednesday evening, Nitish Kumar was sworn-in again as CM on Thursday morning, even though Lalu’s RJD is the single largest party in the House.
Nitish Kumar on Thursday took oath as Bihar Chief Minister at the head of a JD-U-BJP government, within hours of dumping the Grand Alliance.
This is the JD-U president’s second innings in the last two years. He snapped ties late on Wednesday with Grand Alliance partners Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress over corruption charges against RJD leader and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
The Raj Bhavan here echoed with chants of “Nitish Kumar Zindabad” as Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi administered the oath to Nitish Kumar.
BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister. The BJP offered support to Nitish Kumar after he resigned as Chief Minister on Wednesday.
Nitish Kumar took the oath in Hindi.
This is the JD-U’s second innings with the BJP in the state. Nitish Kumar had in 2013 ended his party’s association with the BJP after the party projected Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election.
Venting his ire on the JD-U chief for dumping the Grand Alliance, RJD chief Lalu Prasad alleged that Nitish Kumar had “conspired” with the BJP to get graft cases filed against his family by central investigation agencies.
“Nitish Kumar has cheated the people of Bihar. I charge that he (Nitish Kumar) colluded with BJP to file CBI cases against me and my family,” Lalu Prasad told reporters after appearing before a CBI court here in a fodder scam case.
He said that Sushil Modi, who was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, was asked to run a campaign to damage the image of his family members.
The CBI, ED and the Income Tax department have filed cases of corruption against the family members of Lalu Prasad, including his wife Rabri Devi, his youngest son Tejashwi Yadav, who was Bihar Deputy Chief Minister until Wednesday, and daughter Misa Bharti.
Describing Nitish Kumar as ‘Bhasmasur’, Lalu Prasad said, “I made him the Chief Minister despite my party being the single biggest party in the state.
“I was not selfish,” he said.
Lalu Prasad’s remarks came soon after Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of a JD-U-BJP government in Bihar.
“When I was facing allegations, Nitish Kumar never called me or showed any sympathy. Friends are known to be sympathetic during tough times, but Nitish Kumar never paid any,” he claimed.
“Everything was fixed,” Lalu Prasad said, adding, “He is a very big opportunist. The mandate we got was against the BJP and the RSS. We jointly made them return empty handed from Bihar (during the 2015 Assembly election).”
He also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were “jealous” of him. “They knew that my base is unshakable. I never gave Nitish Kumar any problems,” he added.
Senior JD-U leader Sharad Yadav is upset with Nitish Kumar for aligning with the BJP to form a new government in Bihar, party MPs Ali Anwar and M.P Veerendra Kumar said after a meeting with Yadav.
“None of the party office bearers were consulted before taking such a cruel decision. Sharad ji is upset and has said that he will take a decision after consultations with senior leaders in two days,” Anwar told reporters.
He said that Nitish Kumar on Thursday morning talked to Sharad Yadav over the phone and briefed him about the circumstances under which he chose to go with the BJP.
Anwar also rejected the reports that Yadav has been offered a cabinet berth in the Modi government.
The meeting of JD-U leaders at Yadav’s residence in Delhi was also attended among others by the party’s Kerala unit chief M. P. Veerendra Kumar, General Secretary Arun Srivastava and spokesperson Javed Raza.
Kumar, who is a Rajya Sabha member, said Yadav has told him that he is not going to accept the decision of Nitish Kumar.
“He (Sharad Yadav) told me that there is no question of accepting the present stand of Nitish Kumar,” Veerendra Kumar said.
The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) unit in Kerala opposed Nitish Kumar for tying up with the BJP and announced it was severing ties with him.
The chief of the party’s Kerala unit, M.P. Veerendra Kumar, a Rajya Sabha member, told reporters in Delhi that he was even ready to quit the Upper House to pursue his fight against “fascist forces”.
“Whatever the price, we’re ready to pay,” he said.
“We are not accepting the JD-U joining the NDA and our relations with Nitish Kumar have ended. It’s shocking that Nitish Kumar has joined the NDA. We all thought that he will fight the fascist tendencies but he has now become a part of it.”
Veerendra Kumar said he expected JD-U senior leader Sharad Yadav and its MLAs in Bihar not to accept Nitish Kumar’s decision. “I call upon Sharad Yadav and JD-U MLAs to say that we won’t accept it.”
He said he would go back to Kerala after the Vice Presidential election on August 5 and hold a meeting of the state council to decide the future course of action.
The Kerala unit of the JD-U has been upset ever since Nitish Kumar announced support to the NDA Presidential candidate, Ram Nath Kovind, a former Bihar Governor and now the President of the country.
Party leader Varghese George said in the Kerala capital that he and his colleagues do not approve of Nitish Kumar’s move.
Despite Nitish Kumar’s support to Kovind, Veerendra Kumar voted for UPA nominee Meira Kumar, who lost the Presidential battle.
The JD-U has no member in the Kerala Assembly. In Kerala, it is a part of the Congress-led United Democratic Front.
Veerendra Kumar badly lost from Palakkad in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He has been contemplating returning to the Left fold. With Nitish Kumar embracing the BJP, that may happen soon. (IANS)