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Nitish Kumar set to return as Bihar CM with BJP Support

Nitish Kumar

Patna: Nitish Kumar is poised to be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the seventh time on Sunday, backed by the BJP.

The political landscape in Bihar is undergoing a shift as Nitish Kumar, who initially distanced himself from the Congress-led INDIA bloc, is now reportedly re-establishing ties with the BJP.

The sources indicate that the BJP's support comes with the condition of two Deputy Chief Minister berths, mirroring the arrangement post the 2020 elections.

Contrary to expectations, the Assembly will not be dissolved, and no immediate polls are anticipated, with Bihar slated to vote next year. The imminent focus appears to be on the upcoming Lok Sabha election, reported NDTV.

The detailed game plan for Nitish Kumar's return to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance involves the nomination of an Assembly Speaker and a cabinet reshuffle, allocating one ministerial berth for every four MLAs to accommodate BJP leaders.

Notably, speculations gained momentum following a comment from Nitish Kumar's former deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi, who stated, "In politics, doors are not permanently closed." This, coupled with Nitish Kumar cancelling all engagements for January 28, has fueled anticipation of his return to the BJP fold.

The potential realignment within the Janata Dal (United) has sparked a divide, with conflicting opinions within Nitish Kumar's party. While Lalan Singh is reportedly against severing ties with the RJD, a group led by Sanjay Jha and Ashok Choudhary is advocating for an alliance with the BJP.

The BJP's re-entry into Nitish Kumar's political orbit has elicited mixed reactions from Bihar's political players. Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and his Hindustan Awam Morcha are reportedly being courted in this evolving political scenario.

Once realignment materialises, Nitish Kumar's party may see a reduction in Lok Sabha seats, reflecting the changed dynamics. In 2019, the JDU contested 17 seats, winning 16, but this time, it may have to settle for 12-15 seats, considering its weakened position and the need to accommodate other NDA partners.

The current situation has also exposed friction between Nitish Kumar and the RJD, culminating in a social media spat involving Lalu Yadav's daughter, Rohini Acharya. Nitish Kumar's discontent with the RJD's impact on governance, coupled with disagreements within the INDIA bloc, appears to be driving his potential return to the BJP fold.

The swearing-in ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, is expected to provide clarity on the future course of Bihar's political trajectory.

On the BJP front, three state leaders told The Indian Express that the potential realignment with Nitish Kumar would be a "win-win" situation. The move is seen not only as a morale booster for the BJP but also as a strategic step to undercut the influence of the INDIA bloc at the national level.

The current composition of the Bihar Assembly, which comprises 243 seats, has a delicate balance of power.

The RJD holds the majority with 79 MLAs, closely followed by the BJP with 78.

The Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) has 45 members, while the Congress accounts for 19 seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI (M-L)) commands 12 seats, with two each for the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)). The Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) secures four seats, and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) holds one, along with an Independent legislator.

Sources indicate that Nitish Kumar is expected to continue as the Chief Minister until the next Assembly election in 2025. Following this, the two parties are anticipated to forge an alliance and jointly contest the elections.

This strategic collaboration is not limited to the state level, as the sources suggest that the BJP and Janata Dal (United) will also join forces in the upcoming Lok Sabha poll. This partnership is perceived to provide the BJP with a significant advantage in Bihar, a politically pivotal state that sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha, making it one of the most influential states in terms of parliamentary representation.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP-JDU combine secured a remarkable victory, winning 33 seats. The remaining six seats were clinched by the late Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, contributing to the National Democratic Alliance's sweeping success in the state.

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TAGS:Nitish KumarBihar CMBihar PoliticsJDU BJP AllianceBJP in Bihar
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