Nitish Kumar quits as Bihar CM
PATNA: Nitish Kumar has resigned as Bihar chief minister a day after his party the Janata Dal United was routed in the general election.The JD(U) has won just two of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats. His former partner the BJP has won 31 along with its allies in the polls that saw Mr Kumar’s arch political rival Narendra Modi winning a decisive mandate to become Prime Minister.
“I take moral responsibility for the defeat…I should,” said Mr Kumar, 63. He denied asking for the dissolution of the state assembly, saying an alternative government was possible in the current assembly.Taking a dig at Mr Modi, he said, “We hope that good days have come. Promises will be fulfilled.”His resignation may precipitate snap polls in the state that is due for assembly elections only in November next year.
Nitish Kumar was running a minority government ever since he snapped his party’s 17-year-old ties with the BJP and several senior members of his party left before the election. There was speculation the dissent within his party would grow, with support from the opposition.Yesterday, six ministers who had been critical of his decision to part ways with the BJP last year did not attend a cabinet meeting that Mr Kumar had called.
In the 243-seat Assembly, the JD(U) has 115 members and has been propped up by the controversial support of two LJP members, five from Lalu Prasad’s RJD and two Independents.
On Friday, state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, his former deputy, said, “Nitish Kumar should take moral responsibility and resign. He has lost the confidence of the people.”While many see Mr Kumar’s decision to split with the BJP over Mr Modi’s elevation his biggest mistake, he insisted today, “The decision was based on principles. Whoever takes an ideological position is ridiculed.”
The Bihar chief minister is among those who fault the BJP leader for not doing enough to stop the 2002 riots on his watch in Gujarat. A Supreme Court inquiry has found no evidence to prosecute Mr Modi.The people of Bihar have rejected his campaign against Modi,” said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.