Patna: Senior Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar will get back the reins of Bihar on Sunday, capping a fortnight-long political drama which ended in an anti-climax with rebel party leader Jitan Ram Manjhi resigning as Chief Minister shortly before the floor test on Friday sensing imminent defeat.
The swearing-in ceremony is likely to be attended by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Uttar Pradesh’s Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad.
“The Governor accepted our claim to form government and invited me to take oath in Raj Bhavan at 5 PM on February 22,” Kumar said after meeting Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and staking claim to form government.
His government would take a decision to call the new budget session and fix a date for the Governor’s speech in the joint session, the chief minister-designate said.
A series of high-voltage political events that saw Kumar back to power after nine months began on Friday with the resignation of Manjhi who sensed the clear lack of number to pass the crucial floor test in the Assembly. Manjhi, who had been throwing a challenge to Kumar with the support of a handful of dissident JDU legislators and ministers and support from BJP, submitted his resignation to the Governor on Friday.
This would be the fourth time that Kumar will take on the mantle of Bihar Chief Minister.
His first stint had lasted merely a week from March 3 to March 10 in 2000 and the second from November 24, 2005 to November 24, 2010.
The third term was from November 26, 2010 till he resigned from his post on May 17, 2014 in the wake of the debacle of JDU in the general election. He had then handpicked Manjhi to succeed him but the mentor and the protege later parted ways.
He had also tendered a public apology for his ‘mistake’ in quitting and appointing Manjhi in his place as Chief Minister.
“I make a public apology to the people of Bihar and promise I will never repeat such a mistake by taking an emotional decision,” he said.