As they prepare to form a new government together, Nitish Kumar, who stepped down as prime minister of the current government of Bihar, and Tejashwi Yadav, the 32-year-old opposition leader, have elaborated the broad lines of their understanding. Sources explained these as:
Nitish Kumar becomes Chief Minister with Tejashwi Yadav as his deputy;
The assignment of all ministries is the prerogative of Nitish Kumar;
The speaker is chosen from the party of Tejashwi Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD;
Much of this depends on the governor’s actions after meeting Nitish Kumar tonight; Tejashwi Yadav is expected to attend the meeting, possibly along with other opposition parties such as the left and congress who are reportedly willing to join a new government led by Nitish Kumar.
This morning, Nitish Kumar quit the BJP at a meeting of his lawmakers after accusing the prime minister’s party of working to split the Janata Dal United; at the same time, Tejashwi Yadav met with his MLAs to formally agree to reunite with Nitish Kumar.
In 2015, Nitish Kumar ended a long alliance with the BJP to form the government with Tejashwi Yadav’s party and Congress. In 2017, he jumped back to the BJP after accusing Tejashwi Yadav of being a corrupt minister. But the renewed partnership with the BJP has been bitter, with both sides openly criticizing each other on matters big and small.
But the crisis reached the “it’s over” stage after Nitish Kumar’s team accused RCP Singh of corruption. RCP Singh was once the chairman of Nitish Kumar’s party. He was elected as the sole minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in 2019. At the time, Nitish Kumar was furious that he had only been assigned one ministry, but he reluctantly accepted it. Now his party says RCP Singh claimed he was the only one acceptable to BJP leader Amit Shah. Team Nitish cites this as evidence that Amit Shah used RCP Singh to plot against the Chief Minister in a repeat of what happened in Maharashtra – the BJP co-opted Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena to split the party so successfully that Uddhav Thackeray had to and is now in danger of losing control of the party founded by his father. Nitish Kumar believes that this has become the BJP’s charter for dealing with allies: reduce them from within and expel them to establish the BJP as the dominant if not the only party in a region.
Maharashtra proved this is not a conspiracy theory, Nitish Kumar’s aides say. They also point to a recent comment by BJP President JP Nadda: “Other parties will not survive, only the BJP will exist.” The mission has been declared publicly, they claim.