Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
File Photo

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday maintained a tactical silence on the results of the Assembly elections and the way forward.

There was no reaction from JDU spokespersons or ministers either; however, Kumar held closed-door meetings with his trusted colleagues.

There was no clarity either on cabinet formation with both the BJP and the JDU playing cards close to the chest.

Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, too, gave a stock reply that a decision on the new chief minister or deputy chief minister would be taken by the parliamentary board of the party in consultation with the prime minister.

The confusion is partially Nitish Kumar’s own undoing; he had declared during campaigning that he is reluctant to continue as the chief minister.

That in turn has triggered speculation that he may nominate BJP’s Sushil Modi as his successor.

The incumbent cabinet's last meeting will be held on Thursday when Nitish Kumar will recommend dissolution of the state assembly, to clear the decks for the new House. As per convention, he will also go to the Raj Bhawan to tender his resignation as Chief Minister.

A section of the BJP leadership wants to see Union minister for law and justice, Ravishankar Prasad, in the saddle, thus giving a break to the JDU which has had a free run of the chief minister’s office since 2005.

BJP general secretary Bhupinder Yadav, while launching the BJP campaign in Bihar, had regretted that his party had its nominees as chief ministers in Himachal Pradesh and Assam but the party was playing second fiddle to the JDU in Bihar.

The demand for change has come from some senior BJP leaders, too. Union minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Chaubey has suggested that Nitish should shift to New Delhi and facilitate nomination of either a forward caste or OBC leader as his successor.

Dr Ramakant Pandey, a former MLA of the BJP who happens to be the mentor of BJP president J P Nadda, on Wednesday, demanded replacement of Nitish Kumar by a BJP leader.

Pandey, a veteran RSS leader, said Nitish is the chief minister since 2005 and the BJP has followed the Coalition Dharma for the last 15 years. Now, Nitish should vacate the chair and allow the BJP to take over the reins.

The term of the present House expires on November 29. The Chief election officer and principal secretary of parliamentary affairs department will call on the Governor and submit the list of the newly elected MLAs after getting approval of the Election Commission. A sitting of the new assembly will start after Deepawali holidays, the assembly secretariat said.

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Free Press Journal