Nitish Kumar resigns, Bihar plunges into political turmoil
After submitting his resignation, which was later accepted by Governor DY Patil, Nitish Kumar said, ‘I take full responsibility for the Lok Sabha results. The kind of communal polarisation that happened during this election campaign has never happened before.’
He added: ‘This is not a good thing. The results do not bode well, but we respect the mandate of the people.’
Interestingly, Kumar made it clear that he had not sought dissolution of the assembly and options were open for formation of an alternative government. What should be kept in mind is Kumar was facing dissidence within his party after he decided to sever ties with the BJP in June last year. The rebellion within the rank came out in the open on 15 May, a day before counting of votes, when five out of 14 cabinet ministers skipped the meeting called by Kumar. It was Millennium Post which was the first to publish a report titled 5 minister skip Nitish’s meeting in its 16 May edition about fissures in JD(U).
In the 243-member Bihar assembly, JD(U) has 115 members while BJP has 89 and RJD 21. JD(U) has the support of four members of the Congress, one of the CPI and two independents. There are six vacancies. Observers believe JD(U) may stake claim to continue in power under a new leader who is to be elected on Sunday.
Meanwhile, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said his successor would be chosen on Sunday and made it clear that the party will tie up even with bitter rival RJD for formation of a ‘secular alliance’.
‘A CM candidate will be decided tomorrow...We will take a decision which will surprise the nation,’ Yadav told reporters here. Nitish Kumar’s resignation sparked off protests among JD(U) ministers and MLAs with one legislator even threatening to immolate himself. Several JD(U) leaders flocked to his official residence at 1, Aney Marg to mark their protest. Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi has termed it as a ‘well thought out’ measure to ‘emotionally blackmail’ rebel party legislators.