Flip-flop-flip: A look at Nitish Kumar's about-turns in Bihar with BJP, RJD | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Flip flop flip: A look at Nitish Kumar's about-turns in Bihar with BJP, RJD

Jan 28, 2024 09:34 AM IST

If Nitish Kumar snaps ties with RJD, it will not be the first time the JD(U) chief has changed sides in Bihar.

It will be a second volte-face for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in less than 18 months if he makes a return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), in what would be considered a second such walkout on his incumbent alliance during his current term in the state assembly. In 2022, Kumar quit the NDA to form a government with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress in ‘mahagathbandhan' coalition, accusing the BJP of engineering a split in his party, Janata Dal (United).

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar(PTI)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar(PTI)

CM Kumar's possible regression into his previous cadre is likely to deal a blow to the Opposition alliance – Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) – which Kumar spearheaded to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. However, this would not be the first time the JD(U) president would snap ties with his alliance, which he once counted upon. If he jumps ship today, this would be the fourth such move in the past decade, which is why he is at times addressed as ‘paltu ram’ in a jeering manner.

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First switch

Nitish Kumar formed his first government in 2005 in alliance with the BJP. The snapping of ties began in 2013 when he broke up with the BJP, ending the JD(U)-BJP's 17-year alliance. He was reportedly displeased with the announcement of Narendra Modi's name as the prime ministerial candidate. Kumar contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections alone and managed to bag only two seats as opposed to 18 in the 2009 polls.

Second switch

Taking responsibility for his party's downfall in the 2014 polls, Kumar stepped down as Bihar CM and placed Jiten Ram Manjhi in his post. He survived the floor test with the support of Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD, once his arch-rival. The ‘mahagathbandhan’ made a sweeping victory in the 2015 assembly polls, and Kumar reclaimed the CM's seat. However, his displeasure grew again. This time, he couldn't stand that his party came out to be a smaller force in a larger coalition, with the RJD enjoying the people's majority mandate.

Also read: Nitish Kumar all set to dump RJD for BJP? Action begins 10am

Fissures in the mahagathbandhan started to emerge after Kumar openly backed the BJP on demonetisation and the GST. He was concerned about his ‘clean’ image after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charged Lalu Yadav and his family in a corruption case. He resigned in 2017 again as CM, only to be restored to the position after he switched back to the NDA and regained a majority in the assembly.

Third switch

Being a junior partner in the coalition has been a matter of concern for Kumar. The same happened in the 2020 assembly polls. He was concerned about his diminished autonomy after the BJP overpowered his party in the seat tally. The coalition fell apart in 2022 after differences were broiling for two years. The JD(U) accused the BJP of plotting to split the party and severed ties. His party gained majority in the assembly once again with RJD's support and Kumar has been holding onto his CM's post since then.

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