What Next After Nitish Kumar Triggers Political Quake in Bihar By Resigning

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Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar minutes after he submitted his resignation letter

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned as he found it difficult to work with a corrupt RJD by his side. He will take over as new CM tomorrow heading NDA coalition.

Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar minutes after he submitted his resignation letter

In a surprise move, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today put in his papers, triggering a political quake with its epicentre in Patna and sending tremors as far as Delhi’s corridors of power.

Late evening today, he met the Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and gave him his resignation which was accepted. Later, addressing the media, he gave ample indication that he could no longer put up the stink of corruption coming from the stable of the RJD where in Lalu Prasad Yadav and his children are caught in a quagmire of graft charges.

In one stroke, Nitish has become the hero of Bihar and Lalu has lost the plot as he is seen as the Dritharashtra of Bihar politics protecting his children and family.

Late in the night, Nitish was elected as leader of NDA and will take over as new chief minister of Bihar at 5 pm. 14 ministerial berths have been given to the BJP and the JD(U) will also get 14 berths. The RJD has threatened to unleash protests on the streets of Patna tomorrow against Nitish Kumar.

Earlier, the BJP gave assurance of outside support. All the 71 JD(U) MLAs are with Nitish, but the former CM does not want to leave anything to chance, especially to Lalu who could offer dollops of political power to fence-sitting MLAs. Indications are that

Nitish Kumar

But what next? Obviously, Nitish will gravitate towards the BJP and associate himself with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is being seen as a crusader against corruption.

This is evident as Modi congratulated Nitish minutes after he resigned and the former Bihar CM thanked the PM almost immediately.

Nitish’s resignation will further strengthen his hands of Modi in the runup to the general elections in 2019.

BJP has been successful in exposing corruption in Bihar, especially in the RJD, and exploited the lack of unity in the Opposition ranks as the fissures in the Mahagathbandhan became wide open.

A stunned Congress had no reaction to offer and Rahul Gandhi just went missing from the political radar.

Nitish’s resignation is seen as a move to develop Bihar by rooting out corruption and bringing in the development agenda back in focus. For that the RJD was a misfit and a bad ally.

Sources said Nitish was forced to resign as he wanted to uphold his image as a crusader against corruption. When his deputy Tejeshwi Yadav refused to come clean on corruption charges or step aside, Nitish made the first move.

Addressing the media, he said: “I did everything a chief of a party in alliance should do. I myself have given away the post. Now, you will have to wait and see what happens next. I tried my best in the last 15 days to save the alliance. I never asked for anybody’s resignation. I asked Lalu Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav to prove false the allegations slapped against them. It had become difficult for me to work in this environment. I had no option but to quit as Bihar CM. In taking this decision, I have listened to my conscience.”

He added: How could I support benami property allegations against Tejashwi? I asked him to explain if there was a conspiracy to frame him. Since he and Lalu didn’t explain anything, I had no option but to step down.”

Lalu Prasad
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav

An hour later, a rattled Lalu told mediapersons that Nitish shielded people involved in murder cases which is worse than corruption. But there were hardly any takers for this because the question arises how Lalu then held Nitish’s hand for so long.