Popular Indian CM resigns after rift with ‘corrupt’ ally
New power-equation in the offing as opposition BJP extends ‘unconditional’ support
Patna, India - The Chief Minister of the eastern Indian state of Bihar on Wednesday resigned from the post following a rift with his alliance partner over corruption and financial embezzlement.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said he ‘can’t work in the current circumstances’ following corruption allegations against Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, the son of Lalu Prasad, who is also facing corruption charges in a multi-million dollar fodder scam.
“I have been doing my best to provide good governance... But the circumstances have so developed that it was difficult for a person like me to continue to be in power. That is why I met the Governor and gave my resignation,” Nitish Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan, bringing to an end the 20 month old coalition of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress.
While Nitish Kumar is heading the JD-U, Lalu Prasad is the chief of RJD.
Nitish Kumar is a leader who enjoys a huge popularity for his probity and propriety, and was instrumental in halting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) juggernaut in 2015 Bihar polls.
Nitish Kumar, who always had a bittersweet relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, received accolades from the latter in a tweet in the evening.
‘Many many congratulations to Nitish Kumar for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore (1.25bn) citizens of the country welcome and support this honest move’, the Prime Minister tweeted. ‘It is the need of the hour to rise above political differences for the bright future of Bihar and unite in the fight against corruption’, he added.
Later on Wednesday evening, BJP declared ‘unconditional support’ for Nitish Kumar. “The BJP has decided to support him. We will support the government formed under him. We will inform the Governor also,” BJP’s Bihar state leader Sushil Modi was quoted as saying by local media.
The BJP leader, however, maintained silence over the kind of support or place that would be given to Nitish Kumar, and said further decisions will be taken later. “We have accepted him as a leader, and further decisions will be taken later,” he said.
According to media reports, Sushil Modi is likely to become the deputy chief minister in the new government to be formed again under Nitish Kumar.
Asked earlier whether he would take support of the BJP to run the government, Kumar avoided a direct answer but threw enough hints that this cannot be ruled out.
“What has to happen has happened. What will happen now you keep watching. We will definitely keep Bihar’s interest in mind and do what is good for Bihar and its people,” he said.
In the house of 243 seats, JDU has 71 members, RJD 80 and the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP 58.
This file photo shows Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) during a meeting in New Delhi