A day after Nitish Kumar resigned as chief minister of Bihar, legislators from his party, the Janata Dal (United), are meeting to elect a new leader.
According to sources, there is complete ruckus in the meeting as party leaders are rooting for his re-election, while Mr. Kumar himself is not keen to return as the chief minister.
Earlier, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav had said that Mr. Kumar’s resignation is final and he will not go back on the move.
Sources close to Mr. Kumar had also said, that he is not willing to be re-elected as he does not want his decision to be seen as a political stunt.
Mr. Kumar had stepped down from the top post yesterday after taking moral responsibility for the ruling party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.
“I have been saying since that we as a party are different. Once someone resigns in our party, he doesn’t come back,” said Mr. Yadav.
Mr. Yadav also refused to comment on the speculation about a possible alliance between the JD(U) and Lalu Yadav’s RJD.
In fact, in an interesting development, three RJD MLAs have resigned from the party.
Meanwhile, Sushil Kumar Modi, leader of the JD(U)’s political ally-turned-foe BJP, had scoffed on Twitter yesterday, “MLAs will again re-elect N Kumar as their leader & he will withdraw his resignation claiming under pressure of MLA’s (sic)”.
Dismissing Mr. Kumar’s resignation, Mr. Modi had said, “There is nothing new in it, Nitish Kumar is fond of resigning.”
At a press conference in Patna, Mr. Kumar had explained his decision to resign.
“I take moral responsibility for the defeat…I should,” he said, adding, in an apparent dig at PM-elect Narendra Modi, “We hope that good days have come. Promises will be fulfilled.”
The JD(U) had suffered a rout in the Lok Sabha polls and it could only win two of the 40 seats in Bihar. It had won 20 seats in 2009 in alliance with the BJP, which had bagged another 12.
The BJP was the beneficiary of the JD(U)’s decision to part ways with it in June last year. It won 31 seats this time in partnership with Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.
On Friday, six ministers who had been critical of Mr. Kumar’s decision to part ways with the BJP last year did not attend a cabinet meeting that Mr. Kumar had called.
In an Assembly with an effective strength of 238, the JD(U) has 114 members and has been propped up by the support of four Congress members, three Independents and a CPI legislator. The actual strength of the assembly is 243.