Anti-BJP front takes shape at Nitish swearing-in
Those present at the oath taking ceremony to show solidarity with Kumar included West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leaders Abhay and Dushyant Chautala and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, among others.
After the swearing-in of Kumar and 22 others as Ministers, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda made a strong push for unity among the parties to counter BJP, a move supported by several chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav. “It will be good if we all come together. We are a collective family and the more we come together, the better it would be politically and electorally,” West Bengal Chief Minister, Banerjee said.
Gowda said that it was high time that parties of “similar, secular” thinking came together. Kumar’s swearing in follows the dramatic resignation of rebel JD(U) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi last week before the show of strength in the 243-member Bihar assembly.
Kumar was administered the oath of office and secrecy at the Raj Bhawan in Patna by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. Kumar has to prove his majority in the Bihar Assembly by March 16.
With the swearing in, Kumar now has the big challenge at hand to rally anti-BJP forces in the state and lead them at the Assembly elections, which are scheduled to be held in eight months later. Though he has managed to out-manoeuvre the BJP in the battle of numbers with the help of Lalu Yadav’s RJD, it would be onerous task for him to go to people seeking vote with RJD as an ally. Later addressing a press briefing, Kumar said, “I would like to thank PM Narendra Modi for the wishes. The state government will work with the Centre for the welfare of the state and country... In the interest of Bihar, if I have to meet Mr Modi, I will do so.” Kumar was responding to Prime Minister’s tweet which said, “Congratulations & best wishes to Shri Nitish Kumar on being sworn-in as Bihar CM.”