BIHAR MAHAGATBANDHAN ENDS

Nitish quits citing call of conscience, Non-committal on support from BJP
Report by: 
EOI CORRESPONDENT
Kolkata
26 Jul 2017

After a month of tension and high drama over the issue of keeping the Mahagatbandhan alive in Bihar as Lalu Prasad Jadav, Chief of RJD, a major constituent of the ruling alliance in the state, and his family got deeply bogged down in alleged corruption charges, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar resigned today, citing irreconcilable differences with RJD.

Kumar mounted pressure on Lalu's son and Deputy Chief Minister Tejwashi Jadav to quit as he came under CBI investigation for alleged involvement in benami properties. But Jadav was not to relent. "In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar now, it has beccme difficult to run the grand alliance government. I have to answer the call of my conscience," Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi. However he did not rule out taking BJP's support for forming a new government. ``Anything can happen. You will get to know,'' Kumar said in reply to a question on whether he would get support of the BJP to run the government.
In the Bihar assembly the total number of seats is 243 and JDU and the BJP together have 124 seats, which is enough to form the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi  hailed the resignation  saying in quitting Nitish  had joined the fight against corruption. "Congratulations! Mr Nitish Kumar for joining the fight against corruption. 1.25 crore people are welcoming and supporting his honesty.For the bright future of the country, and especially Bihar, it is the need of the hour to rise above political differences and join the fight against corruption," Modi said in  a series of tweets immediately after Kumar's resignation.

The Bihar chief minister said he tried a lot to save the alliance but all in vain. ``I  tried to work it out....I did not ask for anybody's resignation...I just asked Tejashwi to explain the charges of corruption. I spoke to Laluji, spoke to Rahulji, I told Rahulji: you once tore an Ordinance and now you should take a call. But nobody helped. Hence the decision",  Kumar said.
The sudden development throws the politics of Bihar into chaos with no party having a majority in the 243-member Assembly. Kumar's JD-U has 71 seats, while RJD headed by Tejashwi Yadav's father Lalu Prasad, has 80. The BJP has 53.
Kumar, who led the grand alliance that also included the Congress to a stunning victory, was sworn in on November 20 2015.

Kumar also hinted that on different occasions attempts were made to say that he was tilting to BJP. ``When I supported note ban different things were said about me. But the thing is I also said about benami property and nobody said anything about it. Ramnath Kovind ji was our governor before he became President. When we supported his candidature for that post I was attributed with so many things. This is unacceptable.,'' Kumar said. The Bihar chief minister whose rule of 1 year nine months will be best known for his banning of liquor, said that he tried to bring about fundamental changes in the economic and social life of the state. ``We have brought about several changes including the liquor ban, we tried to bring development in agriculture and power sector. My commitment is to the people of Bihar. I have seen I can no longer continue as CM and I am quitting for that,'' Kumar further said.

However in his reaction Lalu Prasad, who condemned the resignation said that he appealed to Nitish that if he formed a new government it should be sans all old members of the government led by Nitish. ``That government should not have neither Nitish nor Tejhaswi,'' Lalu said.