Bihar: CM Nitish Kumar resigns, JD(U) ends alliance with BJP
Amid a brewing political crisis in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday submitted his resignation to Governor Phagu Chauhan. He has officially ended the ruling Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance. The former Bihar CM announced the decision to snap ties with the saffron party in a meeting with JD(U) leaders and MLAs earlier on Tuesday, NDTV reported.
Why does this story matter?
The coalition partners in Bihar—JD(U) and BJP—had been at loggerheads in the recent past due to Kumar's demand for conducting a caste census, among other issues. Kumar has skipped several meetings with BJP recently, signaling his disappointment with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He was also rumored to be unhappy about former Union minister and JD(U) leader RCP Singh's growing proximity with BJP.
'Consensus in party to leave NDA'
The 71-year-old leader met the governor at the Raj Bhavan in Patna and submitted his resignation on Tuesday. "All MPs and MLAs are at a consensus to leave the NDA," Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan. He earlier chaired a meeting with his legislators and announced the breakup of JD(U) and BJP allyship. Opposition parties in Bihar also held meetings with their MLAs.
Watch: Nitish Kumar resigns as Bihar CM
Congress, RJD, left parties welcome Kumar
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) also called for a legislator meeting on Tuesday at Lalu Prasad Yadav's residence in Patna. Members of the Congress and Left parties, also part of the RJD-led "Grand Alliance," are reportedly attending the meeting as well. All three fronts, the Congress, RJD, and Left parties, have agreed to join forces with Kumar and head toward a possible "Mahagathbandan 2.0."
Watch: Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter tweets out congratulatory greetings
BJP reaches out to Kumar
Meanwhile, senior officials of the BJP in Bihar met with Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad in Patna on Tuesday. As per reports, Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah also reached out to Kumar via phone calls on Monday amid the ongoing political turmoil. Key leaders of the BJP unit in Bihar also reportedly chaired meetings with Kumar on Monday.
What is the Mahagathbandhan?
The JD(U) and RJD came together in 2015 for a historic "Mahagathbandhan" alliance with Congress and the Left parties. However, two years later, Kumar ditched the alliance and switched to the NDA. Amid the ongoing row, the Congress has expressed interest in reviving the Mahagathbandhan.
What is the seat breakup in Bihar Assembly?
Until now, the NDA in Bihar held 125 of the 243 seats in the Assembly, of which 74 were held by the BJP and 43 by the JD(U). The RJD currently has the highest seat share of 75 in the Assembly and can become a kingmaker for JD(U). The Congress holds 19 seats, and the Left parties together hold 16 seats.
But, why is Kumar upset with the BJP?
One of the biggest reasons for Kumar's disappointment seems to be NDA's token representation of the alliance partners in the Union Cabinet. The CM has also expressed his disappointment with Bihar Assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha. However, the breakpoint is supposedly the appointment of RCP Singh as the Union minister, who resigned last week after a show-cause notice by the JD(U).