First Published | Monday, February 23, 2015 - 07:47
Patna: Senior Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the fourth time on Sunday, After long political political drama which ended rebel party leader Jitan Ram Manjhi resigning as chief minister shortly before the floor test on Friday sensing imminent defeat.
Nitish Kumar hugs Jitan Ram Manjhi before the swearing-in ceremony began.
Nitish takes oath as Bihar CM for the fourth time; Jitan Ram Manjhi, Mamata Banerjee, Tarun Gogoi present.
On Micro-blogging website Twitter, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain writes - “Nitish takes oath with the support of Laloo ji. Jungle Raj-2 continues in Bihar.”
Nitish described his decision to quit office last year as "a mistake" on Friday when rebel JD(U) leader and Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram manjhi tendered his resignation.
With Sunday's swearing in, 63-year-old Nitish is back in the chief minister's chair he had quit on May 17, 2014 over JD(U)'s debacle in the general election.
After stepping down, Nitish, despite resistance from JD(U) legislators against his resignation, had his way and handpicked Jitan Ram Manjhi to succeed him on May 20, 2014.
However, within eight months of the decision Nitish was forced to change the plot in the wake of dissent against him by Manjhi along with a section of JD(U) ministers and legislators.
BJP used the dissension to the hilt and extended support to Manjhi. But, the floor test could not be taken as Manjhi tendered his resignation ahead of the vote on Friday last.
With the swearing in, a major crisis for Nitish has ended but some big challenges lie ahead for the socialist leader.
Besides, repairing the "damage" done by Manjhi to "sushasan" (good governance) as Nitish said on Friday, the wily politician has to allay the fears of people that company of RJD leader Lalu Prasad, who has been convicted in a fodder scam case, does not mean return of "jungle raj" as alleged by rival BJP.
This would have serious repercussion for Nitish, as he has to lead his party JD(U) and allies RJD, Congress and CPI to assembly election in the state before November 25 this year.
During his earlier stint as chief minister, Nitish had initiated a series of reforms and stressed on increasing enrolment of students, building roads and bridges and improving healthcare facilities.
BJP, whose relations with Nitish turned bitter after he led his party to sever ties with it on June 16, 2013 following elevation of Narendra Modi, has already coined a slogan "jungle raj II" , warning people of "looming danger of Nitish joining hands with Lalu".