Nitish set to be sworn in as Bihar CM for record eighth time

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being greeted by Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav after taking oath, at Raj Bhavan in Patna, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. (PTI Photo) (

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being greeted by Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav after taking oath, at Raj Bhavan in Patna, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. (PTI Photo) (

Patna, August 10 (PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was on Wednesday sworn in for the eighth time, asserted that the NDA government at the Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to "worry" about its prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Talking to reporters shortly after he was administered the oath of office by Governor Phagu Chauhan, Kumar also rubbished the BJP's claim that the new government will not last its full term, and said his former ally "will be back where they were after the 2015 assembly polls".

Kumar was sworn in besides RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, who is likely to be designated as his deputy. Sources in the seven-party ruling coalition said that a cabinet expansion would take place later.

Leaders of the BJP, which is the second largest party in the assembly with 77 MLAs, were conspicuous by their absence at the swearing in ceremony that took place inside the Raj Bhavan.

Earlier, senior BJP leader and former Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi had claimed that the party, with which Kumar broke his alliance the previous day, had received "no invitation".

Snake has entered your home: Union minister Giriraj to Lalu Prasad on allying with Nitish

BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Wednesday took a dig at Lalu Prasad Yadav referring to the RJD supremo's old remarks in which he had described Nitish Kumar as a "snake" and said that now the same snake has entered Yadav's house.

When Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the RJD in 2017 and allied with the BJP again, Yadav in a tweet described him as a snake that sheds its skin every two years.

Sharing Yadav's tweet, Giriraj Singh, who has often been critical of Kumar, on Wednesday said, "The snake has entered your home."

He said that Nitish Kumar considers himself prime minister material and his ambition leads him to ditch the people's mandate and jump to the other side to form the government.

"One who cannot become chief minister on his own, dreams about becoming the prime minister," Singh said.

He also dared the JD(U) chief to seek a fresh mandate from the people of Bihar.

Even when the BJP was in alliance with JD(U), Singh had many times expressed his reservations about various decisions of Kumar and his stance on various ideological and Hindutva-related issues.

A dharna was held in front of the BJP office at Birchand Patel Marg in Patna that was attended by all party MPs and MLAs from Bihar who vowed to expose the 71-year-old JD(U) leader through agitations at district and block levels later this week.

There is no other reason for the turnaround except his prime ministerial ambitions which make him envious of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He should first try to win a state election on his own, without using an alliance as a crutch , said Union minister Giriraj Singh.

NDA govt had shaky start in Bihar after BJP kept out old faces like Sushil Modi

The JD(U)-BJP government formed in Bihar after the 2020 assembly polls had a shaky start after seasoned BJP leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi who had a "good bonding" with Nitish Kumar and "understood" coalition politics better were kept out, veteran leaders in the two parties said on Wednesday.

Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi were compared with the hit cricket pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly in Bihar politics who had plied the NDA boat smoothly since 2005.

But, after the coalition assumed power for the fourth time in 2020, the BJP kept Sushil Modi and some other senior leaders of the earlier NDA ministries out of the government and Bihar politics. Instead of Sushil Modi, Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi were nominated as deputy chief ministers in the last NDA government.

Talking to PTI on Wednesday, a day after the breakdown of the alliance, senior state leaders of the two parties pointed to propping up of the "new set of leaders not having much political stature" and lack of communication for the failure to reconcile differences.

The BJP leadership changed the entire set of BJP ministers like Sushil Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar and others who "bonded well with Nitish Kumar and had the understanding of the coalition", a leader said.

Sushil Modi, known in Bihar politics as "Chhota Modi" due to a similar surname as the prime minister, was later sent to Rajya Sabha.

"The new set of leaders had no stature and control over their MLAs and the party. Many leaders made damaging comments against the state government from time to time.

"The new avatar of the NDA that rode back to power in 2020 was shaky from the beginning and there was weak communication link," said a senior JD(U) leader on condition of anonymity.

Another leader of Nitish Kumar's party spoke on similar lines and claimed the new BJP leadership seemed to have an "ulterior design" and the JD(U) felt that it was being undermined.

"Sushil Modi was a tall BJP leader who understood coalition politics better. During his time the party and the government moved in tandem.

"But, in the present arrangement the BJP ministers had no control over the party whose leaders frequently made damaging remarks against their own government providing an opportunity to rivals to target it," he said.

The JD (U) leader alleged that the BJP's "propping up" of LJP leader Chirag Paswan against the JD(U) in 2020 assembly elections and the hostile statements of state BJP leaders left his party uneasy.

"The RCP Singh episode was the latest in the series of sinister designs of the BJP in the Bihar NDA," the two leaders alleged, adding "how much muck we can take?"

The JD(U) leaders have been accusing the BJP of "using" former Union minister RCP Singh against the JD(U) "to repeat Maharashtra" in Bihar.

In Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde mobilised a majority of the Shiv Sena MLAs and MPs and joined hands with the BJP, toppling the Uddhav Thackeray government recently.

The BJP has rejected the charge, with Sushil Modi saying that it was impossible to form government in such a manner in the state in view of the strength of his party and the JD(U).

However, a senior BJP leader referred to the "communication gap" since the new government was formed in 2020.

"There was no proper coordination in this NDA ministry in Bihar. No one among our party in the state was in a position to speak boldly on an issue to the chief minister, a seasoned leader," said the BJP leader who did not wish to be named.

"Unlike in the previous NDA government in Bihar, in the present arrangement, there was a communication gap from the beginning," the senior saffron party leader said.

Besides, Sushil Modi, senior BJP leaders like Nand Kishore Yadav and Prem Kumar, a contemporary of Nitish Kumar in the Patna university politics who participated together in the Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan "Sampoorna Kranti" (total revolution) that led to fall of Congress government then, were not there in the latest NDA ministry.

Nand Kishore Yadav, who had served as the BJP president and was among the top BJP ministers in the previous NDA ministries, was tipped to be the Speaker of the Bihar legislative assembly in 2020. The BJP central leadership, however, chose Vijay Sinha over the seven-time MLA from Patna Sahib.

Sinha's run-in with the chief minister in the assembly had hogged the media limelight for a long.

"During earlier times, seasoned politicians like Sushil Modi knew where to speak and when to keep quiet.

"But, in the present set of BJP ministers and state party leadership this quality was was free for all to make comments which many a time put the coalition in poor light and provided ammunition to the rivals against the CM and the government," said a JD(U) leader on the strained ties which finally gave away.

During JD(U) MLAs' meeting on Tuesday, many a legislator told the chief minister how the BJP leaders tried to "sabotage" them from the beginning, said a senior MLA, who was present at the CM's residence before Kumar left for Raj Bhavan to tender his resignation as the NDA chief minister on Tuesday.

They were also miffed at the "damage" caused to the party in the assembly polls after Chirag Paswan contested against the JD(U) candidates.