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Bihar game of thrones: Nitish Kumar’s journey from Modi-baiter to BJP ally

A timeline of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s political journey since he sided with Lalu Prasad after a revolt in the Janata Dal.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2017 13:55 IST
HT Correspondent
Nitish Kumar returned as Bihar chief minister for the sixth time on Thursday, a day after breaking off an alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD.
Nitish Kumar returned as Bihar chief minister for the sixth time on Thursday, a day after breaking off an alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD.(PTI file)

Nitish Kumar has been a pivotal figure in Bihar politics even before he became the chief minister for the first time in 2000, a short term that lasted merely barely a week in a hung assembly. Since then, he has been in charge for many years, growing in stature and even being seen as the opposition’s challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. But four years after challenging Modi, political compulsions forced Nitish to take the support of the same BJP to stay in power.

A timeline of Nitish Kumar’s political journey...

1994

February: Internal revolt in ruling Janata Dal in Bihar. Nitish Kumar joins the faction opposed to then chief minister Lalu Prasad. “We seek our rightful share, not charity, a government that ignores our interests cannot be allowed to remain in power,” he says.

June: Nitish quits Janata Dal and floats Samta Party with George Fernandes.

2000

March 3: Nitish becomes chief minister for the first time after assembly elections throw up a hung house. But he lasts only till March 10, barely a week.

Lalu Yadav hugs Nitish Kumar during the oath taking ceremony on November 20, 2015. (Arun Abhi/Hindustan Times))

2003

October 30: Janata Dal, led by Sharad Yadav, merges with Samta Party, forming Janata Dal (United).

2005

November 24: CM Nitish’s begins second term that lasts till November 24, 2010. Ahead of taking charge, Nitish says: “People are anxious for a change and would throw Lalu out forever…”

2010

November 26: Returns to power for third term.

2013

June 16: Breaks alliance with BJP after BJP names Narendra Modi as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He says defiantly, “We decided not to compromise on our basic principles and whatever happens I am not worried about the consequences.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar during the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh in Patna in January, 2017. (PTI)

2014

May 17: Resigns as CM a day after the Modi-led NDA wins a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections. The NDA bags 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and Nitish’s JD (U) manages just two. “I take moral responsibility for the defeat…I should,” he says.

May 20: Nitish annoints colleague Jitan Ram Manjhi as Bihar CM. Nitish and Manjhi fall apart after 276 days.

2015

June 5: Nitish Kumar named CM candidate of the JD (U)-led grand alliance (GA) that includes RJD and Congress.

November 8: Nitish-led alliance wins 178 out of 243 assembly seats, forms government.

2016

January 21: First signs of trouble in GA with RJD national vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh blaming Nitish for law and order situation in Bihar

September 10: Former Siwan MP and controversial RJD politician Shahabuddin released from jail. He praises Lalu Prasad and terms Nitish a “chief minister of circumstances”.

September 11: Nitish hits back at Shahabuddin, saying people of Bihar know whom they have pledged support to. “Everybody knows what (the) mandate of the people of Bihar is. Should I go by the people’s mandate or pay attention to what someone is saying?”

September 29: Nitish praises surgical strike by army across LoC

November 9: A day after demonetisation, Nitish and Lalu differ on Modi’s step. Nitish calls it as a move to wipe out black money, while the RJD chief calls it a “fraud”

2017

January 5: Prime minister Narendra Modi shares stage with Nitish Kumar in Patna. Modi praises Nitish on total prohibition and says it will inspire others

May 26: Nitish skips lunch hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss joint Opposition candidate for presidential post

May 27: Nitish attends lunch hosted by Modi in honour of visiting Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth. Nitish also holds private meeting with PM.

June 21: Nitish pledges support to former Bihar governor, Ram Nath Kovind, NDA’s candidate for president’s poll.

July 7: CBI raids 12 locations related to Lalu Prasad in connection with the alleged land-for-hotel scam. His son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, wife Rabri Devi and business associates named in FIR.

July 8: Residence and properties of Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti in New Delhi raided.

July 10: RJD rules out Tejashwi’s resignation

July 11: Nitish breaks silence, tells Tejashwi to reply “fact-wise” in public. He says : “I shall not compromise with my principles. I am firm on my resolve of zero tolerance against corruption.”

July 15: Tejashwi skips an official function in Patna chaired by Nitish. His nameplate on the dias is first covered with a cloth and later removed.

July 18: Tejashwi meets Nitish after Cabinet meeting to explain his stand on the CBI charges.

July 26: Lalu reiterates Tejashwi will not resign, says Nitish has not asked him to quit. Nitish meets governor after JD(U) legislature party meeting, submits resignation. BJP extends support to Nitish for forming next government.

July 27: Nitish sworn in as chief minister. “Whatever decision we have taken will be in the interest of Bihar and of its people. It will ensure development and justice. It will also ensure progress. This is a collective decision. I ensure that our commitment is towards the people of Bihar,” he says after taking oath.

Patna: Newly sworn-in Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and cabinet minister Sushil Kumar Modi after their swearing-in ceremony at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Friday. Modi will be the Deputy chief minister in the new ministry. (PTI)