Aug 10, 2022 03:00 pm
Nitish Kumar took oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar today for a record eighth time, forming a government with Tejashwi Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal and other parties as a new "Grand Alliance". Tejashwi Yadav took oath as his deputy.
Speaking after the oath ceremony, Mr Kumar threw a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, questioning whether he would be re-elected in 2024.
"I'm not an aspirant for the PM's post. The question to ask is -- if the person who came in 2014 will win in 2024," Mr Kumar said. He also repeatedly assured that he would work hard for "Opposition unity".
"I didn't want to be the Chief Minister after the 2020 results but I was put under pressure," Mr Kumar said in his address.
Nitish Kumar ended the alliance with the BJP after he felt that Union Home Minister and the BJP's chief strategist Amit Shah was attempting a repeat of the Maharashtra model – where the Uddhav Thackeray government was dismantled with the rebellion by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shind. The BJP rewarded Mr Shinde with the post of Maharashtra Chief Minister.
Mr Kumar's anger with the BJP breached the danger mark over reports that Amit Shah was foraging within the JDU for defectors. The Chief Minister felt that RCP Singh, a senior leader from his party, who had joined the union cabinet, was being used to turn the JDU against him. He refused to extend RCP Singh's term in the Rajya Sabha, which meant that the latter had to resign from PM Modi's cabinet. On the weekend, Nitish Kumar's aides publicly accused RCP Singh of corruption; in protest, he quit the JDU.