New Delhi/Nov,15: Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister of Bihar for a fourth straight term, the NDA said today after a meeting of its legislators. The NDA, which won the recently-concluded election in Bihar with a wafer-thin majority, is on way to meet the Governor to stake claim to form government, sources said. The oath ceremony is likely to take place tomorrow, sources said.
The alliance has got 125 of Bihar’s 243 assembly seats, three above the halfway mark. The MLAs of the ruling alliance formally named Mr Kumar today amid speculation about a change after the voters’ mandate was seen as one against the Chief Minister, who had faced anti-incumbency after three terms.
The 69-year-old dubbed Sushashan Babu (Mr Good Governance), for years had been blacklisted by many voters over his handling of the migrants’ issue during the lockdown, local-level corruption and what the opposition called a failed prohibition. .
Kumar’s Janata Dal United has delivered an abysmal performance, slipping from the 71 seats it won in 2015 to 43, giving the BJP — which won an unprecedented 74 seats — the upper hand in the alliance.
While the BJP had declared before and after the election that Kumar will remain its Chief Ministerial candidate, a section within the party maintained that it should not be considered a given in view of the JD(U)’s performance.
Kumar had told the media last week that the NDA will take a call on the Chief Ministerial candidate — a statement seen as an indication of nervousness.
He had also vented bitterness over the BJP’s handling of Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan, who despite being an NDA ally, had contested solo declaring that he wanted a “Nitish-Mukt (Nitish-free) Bihar”.
“It is up to the BJP to decide fate of those who cut votes,” Kumar had told reporters.
With Mr Kumar dependent on BJP largesse for his fourth straight term, there are questions on whether he would retain his absolute power over the government. Many feel that a chunk of his decisions might be subject to BJP approval.