Patna | JD(U) president Nitish Kumar on Sunday resigned as the Chief Minister of Bihar, saying "things were not working well" for him in the Mahagathbandhan and the opposition bloc INDIA, and staked claim to form a new government with the BJP, which he had dumped less than 18 months ago.
Talking to reporters here after submitting his resignation to Governor Rajendra Arlekar, Kumar, who is likely to form a new government by the evening, said:"I have submitted my resignation to the Governor. The government that was in place now comes to an end. I have let it go".
At the state BJP headquarters, the party's in-charge Vinod Tawde said: "We had gathered here to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat. After the programme. Later a proposal was moved to support the JD(U) and form an NDA government which was unanimously accepted by all MLAs".
Tawde also said that state BJP president Samrat Choudhary and former Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha have been named as leader and deputy leader, respectively of the legislature party.
Both leaders, who are tipped to become Deputy Chief Ministers in the new government, thanked the top leadership for the opportunity and vowed to "protect Bihar from the jungle raj unleashed by Lalu Prasad's RJD".
Tawde and Choudhary later visited Kumar's residence from where they all went to the Raj Bhavan, staking claim to form the new government.
Prasad's son Tejashwi Yadav was the Deputy CM in the outgoing government and the latter's elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav was a cabinet minister.
In an apparent dig at Kuma, Prasad's daughter Rohini Acharya said the "garbage has gone into the dustbin".
"Garbage goes back into the dustbin. Happy stinking garbage to the group", Acharya posted on 'X'.
The RJD, despite having the largest number of 79 MLAs in Bihar assembly, including Awadh Bihari Chaudhary, who is the Speaker, seems unwilling to stake claim.
The party seems to have latched on to the opportunity to promote Tejashwi Yadav. Full-page advertisements saying "Dhanyawad (thank you) Tejashwi" were put out in newspapers here by the party which showered encomiums on the 34-year-old leader for having played his role well since becoming the Deputy CM in August 2022.
The CPI(ML) Liberation, which supported the Mahagathbandhan government from the outside, launched a blistering attack on Kumar, accusing him of "betrayal". In an acerbic Facebook post, the party's general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya alleged that Kumar, "who has had the longest stint as CM", will be used by the RSS-BJP combine "as its pawn".
The 72-year-old leader indicated that he was not feeling happy with the way things were in the Mahagathbandhan in the state as well as the INDIA bloc that he helped take shape but which failed to adequately recognise his efforts.
"You all know how I came to this alliance and also how I worked to bring together so many parties. But of late things were not working well. It was not going down well with those in my party as well", said Kumar.
He also made an indirect reference to the deafening silence he had maintained over the political turmoil that had engulfed the state for the past few days.
Kumar resigned after a meeting of the JD(U) legislature party, which authorised him to take any decision about the alliance.
According to the Raj Bhavan, Kumar has been asked to continue as caretaker Chief Minister till the formation of a new government.
The swearing-in is likely to be held in the presence of BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda, who is expected to arrive here around 3 p.m.
Kumar had joined the Mahagathbandhan in August 2022, when he had snapped ties with the BJP accusing it of trying to "split" his JD(U). He formed a new government with a multi-party coalition that included RJD, Congress and three Left parties.
In the current 243-member Bihar Assembly, JD(U) has 45 MLAs and the BJP 78. Kumar also has the support of one Independent member. Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha, which is already a part of the NDA, has four MLAs.
The RJD (79) along with the Congress (19) and the Left parties (16) have a combined 114 MLAs, eight short of a majority.