17 June, 2021

Once Bitten, Twice Smitten

An overbearing ally, public image and prospects for 2019: the factors that prompted Nitish to swing saffron this time

Old Love
Nitish Kumar with Sushil Modi after swearing in as CM yet again
Photograph by PTI
Once Bitten, Twice Smitten

Riding a high horse over probity and morality in public life, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has galloped back into the NDA camp, in a sudden but not-so-unexp­e­c­ted move that has left the anti-Narendra Modi alliance floundering within and outside the state.

The Janata Dal (United) stalwart res­igned in a huff on July 26 after being snubbed by his alliance partner, Ras­htriya Janata Dal president Laloo Pra­sad Yadav, over his demand that ‘tainted’ deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav come clean, only to find his erstwhile ally BJP waiting for him with open arms—and a letter of unconditional support—within hours.

The 66-year-old leader was promptly sworn in as the chief minister for the sixth time (fourth term as an NDA lea­der) the very next day by acting Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, barely 15 hours after he bid goodbye to the three-party Grand Alliance. This has brought the curtains down on the 20-month-old government that had come into power with a brute majority in the 2015 state assembly...

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