By joining hands with the BJP, Nitish Kumar might have just ended his political career

Siddhant Mohan,

Nitish Kumar has resigned. Again. Keen watchers of the career of Nitish would have noticed that in the past fifteen years, resignations have become his most potent tool to save face. In 2002, he resigned from his post of Minister of Railways in the then NDA government following disagreements with the BJP leadership. Then, in 2013, he left the alliance with the NDA after they announced Narendra Modi as their PM nominee. In the BJP wave that followed in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Nitish’s party, Janata Dal (United) was decimated by the BJP in Bihar, following which he resigned as the Chief Minister. Learning from his mistakes, Nitish allied with the RJD and the Congress to form the Maha Gathbandhan, which went on to claim an overwhelming majority in the 2015 state elections.

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While it is true that Nitish’s resignation may have caught a lot of people off guard, one can say that is not completely out of the blue. As soon as the Maha Gathbandhan formed the government, the opposition made it clear that they would target only the RJD out of the ruling alliance. They did not bother to touch or disturb the JD(U) part of the alliance.

Nitish was also seemingly returning the favour to BJP by praising Narendra Modi and his various steps at regular intervals. By resigning and moving out of the coalition, Nitish has made it clear that he may accept a lower stature in the larger politics of Bihar instead of running the government with RJD.

After handing out the resignation letter to the Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi, Nitish told the media, “Keeping everything in mind, listening to my antaratma (inner voice), it was very difficult for me to lead the government. I have separated from this. The governor has accepted my resignation.”

He also said, “In such a situation it is not possible for the Maha Gathbandan to function. I never asked for anyone’s resignation. I met Lalu and Tejashwi. The allegations that have been made need to be clarified. It is necessary to explain the situation that has arisen. Now it has reached a situation where it is impossible to work. This has been going on for many days in my mind that some way comes out of this. I spoke to Rahul Gandhi as well.”

Soon after the resignation, BJP has opened his deck of cards and the maybe for the first time in history, an Indian Prime Minister has congratulated someone over resigning from the post of a state’s Chief Minister. Narendra Modi congratulated Nitish in his tweet saying that he (Kumar) stood firmly against the corruption and bribery.

The reason for the cheer in the BJP camp is obvious. Within hours of Nitish’s resignation, the BJP high command said it was already working out a way to form the new government with Nitish Kumar. It is important to point out that out of the 243 seats in Bihar assembly, Nitish’s JD(U) has 71 seats, while RJD headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav has 80. With support from 53 BJP MLAs, the JD(U) would cross the majority mark of 122. Along with the BJP, its alliance partners – Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, with two seats each, are also expected to join the coalition, as per news reports. In short, Nitish has resigned as CM, and will soon again become the CM. With a different alliance, of course.

According to AMU Professor Mohammad Sajjad, the BJP is very much looking forward to the state’s equations. “Now they know that Nitish has pretty much lost the game in all aspects, which makes the BJP’s game somewhat easy,” he told

But with all the resignation-over-corruption fiasco, what has also been laid bare is the sheer incompetence of Nitish in handling the alliance as well as the state’s government. Nitish, who was trying very hard to save the alliance, could have done far more important and substantive things which could have shown him to be competent in a far better way.

Having more MLAs than JD(U), Lalu Yadav always had upper hand in the Bihar government. That is why Nitish was constantly under pressure from the Lalu and his dynasty. That is the reason why Nitish couldn’t ask for Tejaswi Yadav’s resignation in the first step. But if Nitish had to break the alliance, why not do it in a better way and be the ‘Sushasan Babu’ all the way? One can only wonder.

As RJD chief Lalu Yadav said after Nitish’s resignation, “I and Nitish talked for about 40 minutes last night. He did not mention resignation anywhere. Nitish told me that Tejaswi’s matter should be made clear in public domain. I insisted that we will only clear it to the authorities.”

Lalu accused Nitish of having ties with BJP and said, “If you do not have any ties with BJP, so Tejaswi will step down. You do that too. Then, the MLAs will decide a new leader.”

Tejaswi has always been a matter of discussion for Bihar opposition as well as the media, who also targeted Lalu at various intervals. But Lalu or Tejaswi refused to clear their stance, which only worsened the rift between Lalu and Nitish.

According to Sajjad, this step of Nitish also exposes failures of Lalu. “Lalu was clear. He put dynasty before secularism. Lalu got support from Muslims, he could have avoided all this just by appointing Abdul Bari Siddiqui as deputy Chief Minister. Even if Lalu could have replaced Tejaswi by Bari Siddiqui, the coalition would have got little bit firm. But he did not do it. I will not be surprised if a section of Yadavas will desert him for putting dynasty politics at the front.” he added.

If Lalu is right in saying that Nitish Kumar was not thinking about resignation a night before, then it must be the collective failure of governance of Bihar, where Nitish Kumar had to step down, that too from the post of Chief Minister, in order to fight corruption.

The Maha Gathbandhan is now a distant past: the question is, who will now have the biggest regret?