PATNA: On a day of fast-paced developments, Nitish Kumar resigned today as Bihar Chief Minister, dumping RJD over corruption charges against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, and joining hands with BJP to form the next government, barely hours after quitting office.
Kumar will be sworn-in as chief minister today evening, marking the return of a JD(U)-BJP dispensation in the politically volatile state after four years.
BJP sources also said Union Minister J.P. Nadda and BJP General Secretary Anil Jain will visit Patna on Thursday as observers to attend the BJP legislature party meeting.
Patna: Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi & other BJP, JDU leaders leave for Raj Bhavan to meet Guv pic.twitter.com/uQ03rn22k8— ANI (@ANI_news) July 26, 2017
Nitish Kumar, whose resignation was immediately accepted by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, is expected to stake claim to form the new government on Thursday in which Sushil Kumar Modi is likely to return as Deputy Chief Minister.
Sources said that the NDA and JD-U will have 14 ministers each in the new government.
The BJP on Wednesday night announced its support to Nitish Kumar for forming a new government in Bihar, which it said the JD-U leader has accepted.
BJP senior leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who is part of the three-member committee formed by the party high command to give a report on the situation in Bihar, made the announcement here.
He said the BJP will join as a partner in the Bihar government.
"We will support the government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. The BJP legislature party has full confidence in Nitish Kumar as its leader. The decision has also been conveyed to Nitish Kumar, which he has accepted," Modi said after a meeting of the legislature party meeting.
He said the BJP will join the government and a decision in this regard will soon be conveyed to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.
Earlier today evening, in a surprise move, Nitish, the Bihar Chief Minister resigned, claiming he can't work in the "current circumstances" following corruption allegations against Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav but didn't rule out a tie-up with the BJP for running a future government.
“In the past 20 months of the Mahagathbandhan government, a strong foundation for social reform was built in Bihar through prohibition and the state’s infrastructure needs are being addressed. I tried my best to run the alliance and the government, but the matters that came up made it impossible for me to continue,” said Nitish Kumar to journalists outside the governor’s house.
Asked whether he would take support of the Bharatiya Janata Party to run the government, the Janata Dal-United leader avoided a direct answer but threw enough hints that this cannot be ruled out.
"What has to happen has happened. What will happen now you keep watching. We will definitely keep Bihar's interest in mind and do what is good for Bihar and its people," he said.
He said he had, before submitting his resignation, communicated his decision on the telephone to Lalu Prasad and C P Joshi, the Congress general secretary in charge of Bihar. Stating that he had not asked for Tejaswi’s resignation but only a public clarification on the charges against him, Nitish Kumar said he was hurt by the RJD’s refusal to comply.
“I listened to the voice of my conscience and took this decision in the interests of Bihar. I had told the RJD of my views, and they had to act. This crisis was deliberately produced (by the RJD),” he said.
Recalling his support for demonetisation, Nitish Kumar said he had called for raids on benami properties and asked: “Now how can I go back on my principles?”
In an obvious attack on the RJD chief’s family for amassing prime land worth hundreds of crores of rupees, Nitish Kumar quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “I always say people’s needs can be fulfilled, but not their greed. What will one do with so much property? Coffins do not have pockets.”
Indicating his willingness to ally with BJP, Kumar said: “I will consider anything that is in the interests of Bihar in order to promote good governance and development with social justice.”
The BJP, which had been prodding Nitish Kumar to sack Tejaswi, welcomed the resignation.
(With Inputs from ENS and Agencies)