Caste census acted as a catalyst in uniting the Bihar-based OBC parties, the script of which was written in April-May when both -- RJD and JD(U)-- advocated for it.
Both the parties thriving on OBC politics could not ignore such a significant issue and the hints were clear when Nitish Kumar started skipping Prime Minister’s meetings, the latest being the NITI Aayog.
But the other factor is that in the next General elections the BJP was trying to assert itself at the cost of its alliance partner the JD(U). This led to the parting of ways as an insider said that JDU and the RJD could not stop the BJP’s rise in the state.
It all started in May when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called an all-party meeting to discuss the caste-based census.
“We want to discuss each and every issue related to caste-based census. The leaders of different political parties will give their suggestions, which will be of great help,” he had said.
However, the BJP supported the move with a rider and raised concerns about the minority community taking advantage of the census.
Nitish has been off and on hobnobbing with RJD to control the BJP but after the latter decided to tighten its grip and a series of programmes were organised, the JD(U) felt uneasy and decided to move away. However, it was Nitish who had dumped the RJD Congress combine to reunite with the BJP.
In the political activity in Patna, the Congress and Left parties handed over the lists of their legislators to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav.
Even as the meeting of RJD, which was taking place at Rabri Devi’s residence here, was going on, legislators from the Congress and Left parties also reached there and handed over their lists to Tejashwi Yadav.
Mandan Mohan Jha, the state president of Congress said: “We will support Nitish Kumar if he leaves the BJP and forms a new government with the help of Mahagathbandhan. We have also given the list of all 19 MLAs of our party to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.”
Mahboob Alam, the MLA of CPI (ML) said: “We have also given the list to Tejashwi Yadav. We will uproot the BJP from power. We are giving support to Nitish Kumar for the formation of a new government.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is working with the ‘plan of 2013’ to sack all 16 ministers of the BJP in the name of cabinet expansion and include leaders of RJD and Congress. Left parties have reportedly decided to support Nitish Kumar government from outside and not take share in the cabinet.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav praised Nitish Kumar, who submitted his resignation as Chief Minister on Tuesday, for his “bold decision” to come out from the NDA.
“The BJP was conspiring against JD-U and trying to weaken Nitish Kumar. BJP did the same in Maharashtra and Punjab and it was doing the same in Bihar to destroy the JD-U. He took the bold decision and left the NDA,” Tejashwi said after returning from Raj Bhavan with Nitish Kumar and other leaders of the Mahagathbandhan, where they staked a claim to form a government.
“We are socialist people and we are capable of carrying our legacy. We are united on several issues like caste-based census in the past. Nitish Kumar is the most experienced Chief Minister of the country. The decision of becoming prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha election would be his own decision,” he added.
On his part, Nitish Kumar said: “After the result of the 2020 Assembly election of Bihar, our party had won only 43 seats and I wasn’t ready to become the Chief Minister. When I was ruling in coalition with BJP, its leaders were saying many things which I did not like. Hence, I resigned from the post of Chief Minister.”
“Now, we will form the government with Mahagathbandhan and we have the support of 165 MLAs. The Mahagathbandhan comprises 7 political parties. So we will run the government with the support of seven parties in Bihar.
“We have staked claim before Governor Phagu Chauhan to form a new government in Bihar. We have also handed over the list of 165 MLAs before him,” he said.
Sources have said that Nitish Kumar wants a swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. Now, it’s up to the Governor to decide and invite Nitish Kumar to become Chief Minister of Bihar for the eight time.
Tejashwi Yadav, who is tipped as the next Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, also accused the BJP of wanting to destroy all regional parties.
“BJP national President J.P. Nadda said that his party will destroy regional parties in Bihar. Bihar is a birthplace of democracy and the BJP President said that his party will destroy democracy. The people of Bihar cannot tolerate this. Today’s development is an appropriate response to it,” he said during a joint press meet with Nitish Kumar, who submitted his resignation as Chief Minister to stake claim to form a new government.
“After the JD-U separated from NDA, BJP is not left alone in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha but also in north India. Except Uttar Pradesh, you can see there are no coalition partners in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and West Bengal,” he said.
Tejashwi Yadav said that Nitish Kumar will remain the Chief Minister of Bihar.
“He has done exemplary works in the interest of Bihar and Bihar people. No one would forget those works done by him. We have disputes like every family has. Now, forget those things. Uncle (Nitish Kumar) and the nephew (Tejashwi Yadav) joined hands together and we are committed to work in the interest of common people of Bihar,” he said.
“Nitish Kumar has taken a bold decision after separating his party from the NDA and he should be congratulated for it. Today is the historic day as the Quit India movement was also stated from the same day on August 9, 1942. Today’s message is extremely important for leaders of all political parties in the opposition camp. If we join hands together and stand against communal forces like BJP and RSS, we will uproot them from the country.
“At present, people of the country are vastly affected by the price rise of every product, unemployment, communalism, national security, and the weak economy of the country. The BJP government is responsible for it. Today, China acquired Indian territories and developing villages. What is the answer?” Tejashwi Yadav asked.
“We are socialist people and we would not allow our legacy to be hijacked by anyone else. We are fighting against the communal forces right from the beginning. You should remember that Lalu Prasad stopped the Rath Yatra of LK Adwani in Bihar,” he said.
At the press meet outside his residence at 1 Anne Marg, Nitish Kumar said: “The way BJP was trying to sabotage our party, we have discussed aspects with our MPs, MLAs and MLCs and every one suggested that I come out from NDA. We have listened to their voices and I resigned from the post of Chief Minister.”
Asked whether he may project himself as prime ministerial candidate in next Lok Sabha election, he avoided the question with a smile, just saying leave all these things.
“Yeh sab chodiye.
“We will work together with a 7 party government in Bihar and we have the support of 165 MLAs. We will do the development works in the interest of Bihar,” he said. (IANS)