Sus­pense in Bi­har Stays Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter Seeks a Day’s Time

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - ASHOK MISHRA

Ni­tish Ku­mar has sought time till Mon­day to re­con­sider his de­ci­sion to quit as Bi­har chief min­is­ter in the wake of his Janata Dal (United) party’s de­ba­cle in the re­cent Lok Sabha elec­tions, keep­ing the sus­pense alive for at least a day af­ter the party’s leg­is­la­tors re­posed com­plete faith in his lead­er­ship and heck­led party pres­i­dent Sharad Ya­dav for seem­ingly favour­ing a re­place­ment.

Ya­dav had to cut a sorry fig­ure in the meet­ing on Sun­day and cut short his speech, in which he said no un­due pres­sure should be put on Ku­mar if he wanted to step down tak­ing moral re­spon­si­bil­ity,aviewthat­drew­strong protests from the ag­i­tated leg­is­la­tors. Theleg­is­la­tors­saidthey­would­no­tac­cept any leader other than Ku­mar, rais­ing slo­gans such as “Ni­tish nahin toh koi nahin (if not Ni­tish, no­body else)”. An MLA even shouted that the JD (U) chief should also step down since he too was re­spon­si­ble for the party’s per­for­mance.

Ku­mar, how­ever, said in an emo­tional speech that it would be in the in­ter­est of the party if he was freed from the post of care­taker chief min­is­ter. “If I again be­come the CM, it will dam­age the im­age of the party and the govern­ment. They will again say that I was en­act­ing drama; this will not be in the in­ter­est of the party. So it will be bet­ter if I stick to my de­ci­sion,” he said.

But the leg­is­la­tors, who sat on a dharna when the meet­ing was about to con­clude, did not ac­cept the chief min­is­ter’s rea­son­ing. Bow­ing to the im­pas­sioned pleas of the leg­is­la­tors, Ku­mar­said­he­wouldleth­is­fi­nalde­ci­sion known by Mon­day.

TheJD(U)won­justtwoof Bi­har’s40 seats, down from 20 in 2009.

It was a day of in­tense po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, with leg­is­la­tors in dif­fer­ent groups clos­eted in meet­ings to chalk

NI­TISH KU­MAR Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter

out their strat­egy ahead of the cru­cial meet­ing of the leg­is­la­ture party. JD (U) work­ers and ac­tivists hit the streets de­mand­ing with­drawal of Ku­mar’s res­ig­na­tion and hun­dreds of them even gath­ered out­side the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of the chief min­is­ter as news spread that Ya­dav wanted to anoint his pro­tégé as the new chief min­is­ter. Ya­dav had to brave strong protests from the party work­ers while he was on his way to the chief min­is­ter’s res­i­dence for at­tend­ing the meet­ing. The ag­i­tated party work­ers tried to stop his car and even raised slo­gans against him. Sens­ing the mood of the leg­is­la­tors in the meet­ing, Ya­dav did not say much in his speech about elect­ing a new leader.

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