RJD could be part of new government: Sharad Yadav

Owning moral responsibility for the Janata Dal (United)’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar resigned on Saturday but kept the option of the formation of a new government open by not dissolving the State Assembly.

JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav hinted that archrival RJD could be part of the new formation.

Mr. Yadav said the JD(U) was willing to bury the hatchet with the RJD for the formation of a “secular alliance.”

“A CM candidate will be decided tomorrow,” Mr. Yadav told reporters, even as JD(U) leaders did not rule out the possibility of Mr. Kumar himself being re-elected at a meeting of the legislature party on Sunday.

Mr. Kumar said his decision to resign was not taken in haste and he had consulted senior leaders, including Mr. Yadav.

The JD(U) has 116 members and enjoys the support of the Congress (four), the CPI (one) and five Independents to cross the halfway mark of 122. But the Congress alliance with the RJD in the parliamentary elections has brought an element of ambiguity in the support.

“We are calling for a broad alliance of all secular parties,” said Ali Anwar, a JD(U) Rajya Sabha member. Both the JD(U) and the RJD performed badly, winning just two and four seats, respectively, of the 40 in the State.

Both would not also want an election in Bihar right now. Ahead of Sunday’s meeting, most JD(U) MLAs came out with statements that the Chief Minister should not have quit without taking them into confidence. Mr. Yadav maintained that the legislature wing would elect a new leader and called for a broader understanding among secular forces.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad refused to comment saying he was watching the developments. He stressed that he had not demanded Mr. Kumar’s resignation.

“Mr. Kumar taking the moral high ground is only a smokescreen. There was an internal revolt in the JD(U) and he was unable to contain it,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Earlier story: Nitish Kumar quits as Bihar CM