Nitish's homecoming: Teaser, trailer and climax of drama

By: | Updated: 27 Jul 2017 05:24 PM

Nitish Kumar once again took over as chief minister of Bihar with BJP's support today, leaving the opposition's grand alliance in tatters and raising questions over its ability to counter the saffron party in the 2019 general elections. Photo: PTI (File)

PATNA: The timelessness of the old adage that morning shows the day was proved once again in the state capital on Wednesday.

The first trailer of the political drama that unfolded through the day came in the morning, when former parliamentarian and close confidante of Lalu Prasad, Shivanand Tiwari, emerged from the RJD chief's bungalow, 10 Circular Road, around 10:15am.

Nitish Kumar's harping on zero tolerance on corruption is nothing but dhong (play acting), Tiwari alleged, warning of skeletons tumbling out if talk progressed. It was not immediately clear what he was referring to, but later in the evening Lalu hurled questions over an old murder charge on Nitish.

Around 12.30pm RJD MLAs and MLCs trooped into 10 Circular Road for the RJD's legislature party meeting. Their body language was a giveaway; they were stiff, and anticipation was writ large on their tense faces. Down to the last man, however, they put up a brave front.

"We have come here to attend the legislature party meet and the Grand Alliance is intact," said Maner MLA Bhai Birendra, though anyone conversant with the political developments knew that the second part of the statement was not true.

After the one-and-half hour meeting that he presided over, Lalu emerged to brief the press. He did not utter one word against Nitish, and just said that his party MLAs and MLCs will keep on working for the smooth functioning of the government.

Accompanied by his better half Rabri Devi and his younger son who was till then the deputy chief minister of the state, Lalu stressed that Tejashwi Yadav would not resign.

The only ones smiling were the ice-cream vendor and the bhutta seller outside Lalu's residence, both of whom ran out of the stock selling their wares to Lalu's supporters who had gathered outside his residence in large numbers.

Then, the focus shifted to 1 Aney Marg, the chief minister's official residence, where Nitish had convened the meeting of his JDU legislature party from 5.30pm.

The JDU lawmakers started reaching 1 Aney Marg from 5pm, and their body language was in stark contrast with that of their RJD counterparts. The JDU MLAs and MLCs were smiling and visibly relaxed.

Dadan Yadav alias Dadan Pehalwan, the JDU MLA from Dumraon, said the election was contested in the name of Nitish and the chief minister would never compromise on the issues of crime and corruption.

The only dissenting voice was of Poonam Devi, the JDU MLA from Khagaria, who said Tejashwi would resign only when the charges against him would be proved. Peppered with questions about her breaking from the party line, she refused to elaborate.

By 6pm, murmurs rippled through the crowd outside Nitish's bungalow that the chief minister would resign taking moral responsibility for the corruption charges against his deputy.

At 6.15 pm, the CM's security guards took position outside Raj Bhavan, and it became clear that Nitish would to meet Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

At 6.30 pm, Nitish's motorcade rolled out from his residence for Raj Bhavan, and everyone realised that the climax was near.

At 6.45 pm, Nitish emerged from the governor's residence, and announced that he had resigned.

At 7.40pm, Lalu spoke to the media again - and gone was the restraint of the afternoon. He attacked Nitish and accused him of teaming up with the BJP.

Lalu's supporters started chanting slogans: Lalu Yadav mat ghabrana tere peechhe sara jamana (don't be scared Lalu Yadav, the whole world is with you). Slogans were also raised in support of Tejashwi and Tej Pratap. As the RJD supporters grew unruly, police personnel who had already been deployed started their crowd-control drills.

Shortly after Prime Minister Modi welcomed the developments in Bihar, BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said his party was against mid-tern polls.

Then BJP Parliamentary Board quickly met in Delhi and appointed a three-member committee of Bihar leaders to study the situation.

Then Sushil Modi announced that the BJP would support Nitish Kumar to form a new government in which it would be the junior partner.

On Thursday morning, Nitish Kumar once again took over as chief minister of Bihar with BJP's support today, leaving the opposition's grand alliance in tatters and raising questions over its ability to counter the saffron party in the 2019 general elections.

A little more than 12 hours after 66-year-old Kumar resigned to break ranks with his allies -- Lalu Yadav's RJD party and the Congress -- he was back in office after being sworn in by Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at the Raj Bhawan.

Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi was also sworn in, and will be the deputy chief minister.

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First Published: 27 Jul 2017 05:21 PM
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