PATNA: As the rift between the two ruling grand alliance partners -- Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) -- widened, the possibility of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar resigning from the post on Saturday seemed more or less imminent. He may stake claim to form a new government with the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
With political uncertainty looming large in Bihar following the sudden turn of events, all eyes are on Raj Bhavan. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad could both stake a claim in case the alliance unravels.
In a recent development, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has invited all JD(U) MLAs to tea party at 1 Anne Marg. He is expected to discuss the future course of action with them.
Reliable sources claimed that Nitish may resign from the post on Saturday and take oath as Chief Minister for the eighth time on Sunday.
Another source who requested anonymity, told PTI that though there was a possibility of Kumar resigning by late Saturday evening,"It would definitely take place by Sunday morning".
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi may once again become Deputy Chief Minister, the post he had held in the earlier NDA government led by Nitish Kumar.
Senior BJP leaders including Ravi Shankar Prasad landed in Patna for the BJP core committee meeting and the endgame could begin soon. There are also reports that BJP has begun collecting letters of support ahead of the possible formation of a new government.
Meanwhile, the RJD has also started moving their pieces to try and form an alternative government in case the grand alliance government falls.
RJD leader Lalu convened a meeting of his legislature party at the 5, Circular Road residence of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav at 1 pm. At the meeting, the party authorised Lalu to decide the future course of action.
The RJD along with Congress and the three Left parties have the support of 114 MLAs and need another eight MLAs to reach the magic figure of 122 in the 243-member assembly.
Sources claimed that RJD has approached former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) to achieve the magic number.
If the RJD succeeds in mustering the requisite numbers, it can stake a claim to form a government by parading its MLAs before the governor.
In any situation, the RJD will have to first withdraw its support to the Nitish Kumar government and prove its majority in the assembly by mustering the support of the MLAs.
Sources said that the RJD MLAs and MLCs are already exerting pressure on the party leadership to withdraw support to Nitish Kumar, but the Deputy Chief Minister is against any such move.
Tejashwi said that they must first let Nitish clarify his position and also disclose reasons on what prompted him to snap ties with the grand alliance, and only then will the RJD make its move.
In case of withdrawal of support to the government, the RJD can expect the support of four Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) MLAs and one Independent MLA by offering them plum posts like those of deputy Chief Ministers in return. It will also need the backing of three more MLAs.
RJD Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha, however, denied that the party is looking at such possibilities.
Meanwhile, JD (U) MP Sunil Kumar Pintu said that Nitish should return to NDA as he was more comfortable with BJP.