Bihar Political Crisis: Nitish Kumar has switched sides, yet again. The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Tuesday (August 9) decided to walk out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and join the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and the Left. Nitish had been unhappy with the BJP since 2019 Lok Sabha elections as his JD-U was offered just a single berth in Narendra Modi cabinet at the centre.
Nitish Kumar handed over his resignation to Governor Phagu Chauhan and also letter of support from the RJD, Congress, Left and other smaller parties paving the way of return of the Mahagathbandhan government and him remaining the chief minister. The JD-U has 45 MLAs which has taken the strength of grand alliance to 163 in the 243-seat Bihar assembly. The RJD is the single largest party with 79 seats, Congress 19, Left 19, Jitam Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) four seats.
Why Nitish Kumar dumped BJP
1. Nitish Kumar is believed to be upset ever since the BJP ignored JD-U giving it just a single seat in Narendra Modi cabinet after a historic win in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In a tit-for-tat move, Nitish had included eight JD-U MLAs in his cabinet and left only one seat for the BJP soon after the Centre snub.
2. Accoring to sources, RCP Singh, who left JD-U just days ago, had dealt directly with the BJP bypassing him which infuriated the Bihar CM further. The JD-U later didn't renew Singh's Rajya Sabha candidature. "The Chief Minister had decided in 2019 we won't be part of the Union Cabinet. What is the need to join the Union Cabinet?" JD-U national president Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh had told reporters last week.
3. Nitish Kumar is also said to be miffed with Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha who is a BJP MLA. The two leaders have had several run-ins during debates in the assembly. The CM lost his cool on more than one occasion on Sinha as the Speaker raised questions against the government. Nitish wanted Sinha to be removed as Speaker.
4. Nitish Kumar has repeatedly disagreed with the BJP over various issues. Granting special status to Bihar, caste census, holding state and national elections simulataneously were some of issues where Nitish Kumar presented different view than that of the BJP.
5. Sources said Nitish wanted a larger say in deciding who will be in his cabinet from BJP's quota. This was seen as an attempt to undercut Amit Shah's influence over selection of ministers.