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