JDU President Nitish Kumar switched to the BJP fold on Sunday barely 17 months after he had left the NDA to side with Mahagatbandhan led by the RJD, to remain Bihar Chief Minister for the ninth term.

At the swearing-in ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Sunday evening, hours after Nitish Kumar handed over his resignation letter to Governor Rajendra V Arlekar to bring down his own grand coalition government run with the RJD, Congress and Left parties, BJP MLAs Samrat Chaudhary and Vijay Sinha took oath as Deputy Chief Ministers in the JDU-BJP led NDA government.  

Ministers sworn-in

Besides them, BJP’s Dr Prem Kumar, JDU’s VK Chaudhary, Vijender Prasad Yadav and Shravan Kumar, and Hindustan Awam Morcha’s (HAM’s) president Santosh Kumar Suman and Independent legislator Sumit Kumar Singh too were sworn as ministers in a ceremony attended by BJP president JP Nadda.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media to congratulate Nitish Kumar for becoming the CM and assured the NDA government will work for the “development of the state and to fulfill the aspiration of its people”.   In his post on X, the PM congratulated his party colleagues Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Sinha for becoming Deputy Chief Ministers of Bihar, a model the BJP adopted in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh as well after winning Assembly polls recently.

“I was with them (NDA) earlier too. We went on different paths, but now we are together and will remain so,” Nitish Kumar told reporters, assuring “there is no question of going anywhere else”. In the brief interaction with reporters, he said eight legislators took oath along with him and the rest would join the government soon.

When asked why he walked out of the Congress-RJD-Left coalition government, the JDU president remarked, “This situation came because not everything was alright... You all were also trying to find out from me about it but I kept silent on it.. I was getting views from my party.. everyone. I listened to all of them. Today, the Government has been dissolved...”

A jab at INDIA

At a press meet post-government formation, BJP president J. P. Nadda took at a jab at the INDIA alliance describing it as “an unholy, unscientific alliance” that “will not work”.  “’Anaya Yatra’, ‘Bharat Todo Yatra’ and INDI alliance have failed conceptually. INDI alliance was formed to protect family and properties, and is a group of corrupt people and promotes appeasement,” he remarked.   

The BJP legislative party in a meeting earlier in the day unanimously decided to support the JDU to form the government. It elected Samrat Chaudhary, the party’s state president,  as the Leader of the legislative party, and Vijay Sinha as the Deputy Leader, party’s National General Secretary and points person for Bihar, Vinod Tawde, said.

 Before that, the BJP party leaders met Nitish Kumar at his residence to formally extend support to JDU in government formation which has amplified the setback for larger opposition unity post TMC and AAP deciding to go alone in West Bengal and Punjab.

Former Deputy CM and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav said “Khela to aab shuru hoga (the game will start now)” as the “JDU will be decimated in 2024 itself” while stating that his government performed in the last seventeen months on providing employment and other development aspects.

A dejected Congress president, Mallikarjun Kharge, said former Bihar Deputy CM (Tejashwi Yadav) and Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD president) had hinted that Nitish Kumar may leave and today it became true. “There are many people like this, aaya ram gaya ram, Kharge observed on Kumar leaving the ‘Mahagathbandhan’.