Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar will take oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth straight term on Monday afternoon after closely-fought legislative assembly elections in the state.
Nitish Kumar, after meeting Governor Phagu Chauhan to stake claim to form NDA government in Bihar, had on Sunday announced that the oath-taking, as well as the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet, will be held at around 4.30 pm on Monday.
The leaders of the NDA legislature party, which had secured a slim victory in the recently-concluded election in Bihar, had on Sunday met to deliberate on selecting a leader to lead the party. It had named Kumar as the leader of the NDA legislature party thus paving the way for his return as chief minister for the fourth consecutive term.
BJP’s Tarkishore Prasad, the MLA from Bihar’s Katihar, will replace Sushil Modi as his deputy. The BJP had, from the beginning of the election campaign, had maintained that Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Ministerial candidate for the NDA government in the state.
Shivanand Tiwari, a leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) which emerged as the single-largest party in the Bihar polls, on Sunday hit out against the top leadership of the Congress party with whom it fought the elections as part of the grand alliance in the state.
Terming the Congress a “shackle” for the alliance, Tiwari said the party had contested on 70 seats but did not hold as many rallies.
“Congress turned out to be a shackle for the Mahagathbandhan. They had fielded 70 candidates but didn’t hold even 70 public rallies. Rahul Gandhi came to Bihar for just three days. Priyanka didn’t come. People who were unfamiliar with Bihar came here. This is not right,” Tiwari said.
Taking a potshot at the seriousness of Congress leadership regarding the Bihar election, Tiwari said: “The elections were in full swing here and Rahul Gandhi was having a picnic at Priyanka Ji’s house in Shimla.”
“Is the party run like that? Allegations can be levelled that the manner in which Congress party is being run is benefiting BJP… Prime Minister is older than Rahul Gandhi and did more rallies than him. Why did he do only three rallies? This shows party leadership was not serious about the Bihar election. Earlier there was news that even Piyanaka Gandhi would visit Bihar, but it did not happen either,” he added.
Notably, this is the seventh time when Nitish Kumar will take an oath to become the Chief Minister of Bihar. He had served as the Chief Minister of the state for little over seven days in March 2000, after which he was elected in 2005 when he served a full term.
He was re-elected to power in November 2010, after which he served for four years before resigning, and had again taken oath as Chief Minister in February 2015. He was voted to power in 2015 Assembly Election as part of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’.
However, after corruption allegations were levelled against his deputy Tejashwi Yadav in 2015, Nitish resigned only to be sworn in as Chief Minister merely 12 hours later joining hands with the BJP to form a government in the state.
The NDA has secured a 125-seat majority in the 243-seat strong Bihar Legislative Assembly of which BJP won on 74 seats, JD(U) on 43 while eight seats were won by two other NDA constituents. The RJD, on the other hand, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats while the Congress only won 19 of the 70 seats it had contested on.