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February 21, 2024

Nitish Kumar Resigns as Bihar CM, Rejoins NDA Alliance in Dramatic Political Flip-Flop

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Jan 31, 2024

In a dramatic turn of events, Nitish Kumar resigned as Chief Minister of Bihar on August 9th, ending the Mahagathbandhan government that he had formed less than 2 years ago with old rival Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD. Mere hours later, Kumar was sworn in as CM again with the support of the BJP-led NDA alliance that he had dumped in 2017.

The Breakup of the Mahagathbandhan

Nitish Kumar had walked out of the NDA alliance with BJP in 2017 over differences regarding corruption charges against then Deputy CM Sushil Modi. He shocked everyone by forming a new coalition government with arch-rival Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the Congress. This ‘Mahagathbandhan’ alliance was seen as a possible template for an anti-BJP front ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

However, tensions were simmering under the surface between JDU and RJD over portfolio allocations and policies. The final straw seems to have been RJD allegedly trying to split Nitish’s party MLAs. An angry Nitish is reported to have conveyed his displeasure to Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav and decided to call it quits.

Kumar’s Resignation and Dramatic Reunion with NDA

On August 9th, 2024, Nitish Kumar met with the Bihar Governor to hand in his resignation as CM without giving any inkling to his Mahagathbandhan allies. This move blindsided not just his coalition partners, but even senior leaders within his own JDU party:

“The decision to walk out of the grand alliance government was taken unilaterally by Nitish Kumar without consulting the party…the move has left JD(U) leaders shocked” – senior JDU leader

Kumar proceeded to stake claim to form a new government with the support of the BJP-led NDA within hours of resigning as CM. The BJP, who had been waiting in the wings for such an opportunity, moved swiftly to extend support and be a part of the new Nitish Kumar government.

By evening, Nitish Kumar had taken oath as CM for a record 8th time, with 2 BJP and 1 HAM MLAs also sworn in as cabinet ministers.

This entire sequence of events has left Kumar’s former allies shell-shocked even as the NDA camp rejoices:

RJD BJP
Initial Reaction Shock and betrayal Pleasant surprise
Current Position Exploring legal options to form government Facilitating swift return of Nitish Kumar as CM
Future Strategy Plan statewide protests Secure more cabinet berths in Nitish govt

Impact on Opposition Unity for 2024 Elections

Nitish Kumar’s dramatic flip-flop has significantly dented the opposition’s plans for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Just last week, Nitish was seen hobnobbing with key opposition leaders at a virtual meeting called by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. His decision to switch sides is thus being seen as a betrayal by the Congress and other UPA constituents.

In particular, this move weakens the opposition’s ability to put up a united front based on caste calculations in the Hindi heartland. As a prominent OBC leader, Nitish Kumar was expected to play an anchoring role in stitching such an anti-BJP coalition.

His reconciliation with BJP is also expected to alter caste arithmetic in favour of the NDA in Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats.

Future Political Scenario

In the short term, Nitish Kumar seems securely ensconced as Bihar CM again, albeit with the BJP now as the big brother in the alliance. Induction of BJP ministers into his cabinet demonstrates Kumar’s diminished bargaining power compared to earlier stints.

Further realignment of legislative council seats to restore the original NDA power sharing formula in Bihar is also on the cards.

In the medium term, Kumar may face fresh challenges from ascendant BJP leader & Union Minister Giriraj Singh who hasCM ambitions. RJD under Tejashwi Yadav will also regroup as a strong opposition looking to settle scores electorally in 2025.

Thus while Nitish looks firmly in the saddle once again, the long term remains far less certain for the wily politician whom AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal dubbed the “palatua raja (turncoat king)”. His ability to retain control in such a fluid political landscape will be severely tested.

This is a breaking story, please check for updates…

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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