Nitish Kumar, who was on Thursday sworn in as the 23rd Chief Minister of politically volatile Bihar, has emerged on top, capping his journey from being an astute political strategist to the occupant of the top post.
Blending his secularist ideology with pragmatic politics, Kumar has been the mascot of NDA's fight against the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule, whipping up a new caste configuration that led to the electoral meltdown of RJD-led Secular Democratic Front.
His taking over the reins in Bihar also finally helped rid of the tag of being a permanent aspirant for the top post, especially after a brief seven-day tryst with chief ministership in March 2000 when he was sworn in despite NDA lacking a majority.
Often called Chanakya for his political astuteness, Kumar, the 54-year-old trained engineer with stubble on his face, has finally donned the mantle of Chandragupta the emperor.
His strong views on job reservations for OBCs and Dalit muslims notwithstanding, the wily craftsman of modern day politics did the delicate balancing act keeping votaries of both hardliners in his party JD(U) and BJP together.