While the BJP had maintained since before the election that Nitish would be the NDA’s CM choice in Bihar, sources have said the JD(U) leader has expressed “unwillingness” to accept the post given his party’s poor show.
Amid speculations that Nitish Kumar will be sworn in as the chief minister of Bihar for his fourth term on November 16, the JD(U) leader Thursday said he had made no claims on the CM post, and the decision will be taken by the NDA. He also said members of all four NDA parties would meet Friday.
“I have made no claim on the CM chair, the decision will be taken by NDA. It has not been decided yet when the oath taking ceremony will be held, whether after Diwali or Chhath. We are analysing the results of this election. Members of all four parties will meet tomorrow,” Kumar was quoted by ANI as saying.
While the NDA narrowly won the Bihar elections, the JD(U) has been reduced to a mere 43 seats –– way below the BJP’s 74, and its worst tally since 2005. The BJP has emerged as the senior partner in the Bihar alliance for the first time in decades. And while the BJP had maintained since before the election that Nitish would be the NDA’s CM choice, sources have said the JD(U) leader has expressed “unwillingness” to accept the chair given his party’s poor show.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav too has taken a swipe at Nitish, saying with the JD(U) reduced to the third position in the state – behind RJD and BJP – “if he has any conscience left, Nitish must give up his attachment to the Chief Minister’s chair”.
Senior BJP leaders, however, are persuading Nitish to continue as CM and have assured him that he would have “full independence as before” in running the government, The Indian Express has learnt.
Sources said Nitish was “very upset” at the manner in which Chirag Paswan and his LJP had hurt the JD(U). Said a senior BJP leader: “He was deeply disturbed and very upset that Chirag had spoiled JD(U)’s chances in at least 25-30 seats. We persuaded him to remain the CM even though BJP is now a senior partner in the alliance.”
When asked about Paswan’s party, Kumar said, “It’s for BJP to decide whether or not LJP should be retained in NDA”.
A senior JD(U) leader said there was a “general impression” in his party that the BJP did “not deal with Chirag Paswan as effectively as it should have during the election campaign.” This leader said that there was also gaps in coordination between BJP and JD(U) workers.
The NDA has won a thin majority in the Bihar Assembly, with the BJP getting 74 seats, JD (U) 43 and allies VIP and HAM(S) four seats each.
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