Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar was elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance legislature party in Bihar on Sunday. He will take oath as Chief Minister of the State for the fourth consecutive term on Monday afternoon.
Also read: Analysis | What lies ahead for JD(U) with a diminished Nitish Kumar
Four-time MLA from Katihar, Tarkishore Prasad, was elected leader of the BJP legislature party and Renu Devi, MLA from Bettiah in West Champaran, his deputy. Mr. Prasad, 64, is tipped to be the next Deputy Chief Minister, replacing long-time incumbent Sushil Kumar Modi.
Also read: Bihar Assembly elections | No second thoughts about Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister, says BJP in-charge for Bihar
Mr. Kumar was elected unanimously at a meeting of NDA legislators held at 1, Anne Marg, official residence of the Chief Minister. Senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, party’s poll-in charge Devendra Fadnavis and the State party in-charge Bhupendra Yadav were also present.
Soon afterwards, Mr. Kumar accompanied by leaders of all the four alliance partners met Governor Fagu Chauhan at the Raj Bhawan and staked claim to form the new government.“The Governor accepted our request. Tomorrow the oath taking ceremony will be held between 4 and 4:30 pm,” Mr. Kumar told media persons as he emerged from the Raj Bhawan.
After the NDA legislators’ meeting, BJP leaders headed to the State guest house. Mr. Modi, Mr. Singh, Mr. Fadnavis and Mr. Yadav were closeted in another meeting, before they went to meet the Governor. The leaders avoided a direct answer to a question about the next Deputy Chief Minister. “You all will know at an appropriate time,” said Mr Singh.
Mr. Modi, who is known to be close to Mr. Kumar, later tweeted that no one could “snatch” the position of a party worker from him. “In my political career spanning 40 years, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar (RSS) have given me much more than anyone will ever get. I will discharge whatever responsibility is given to me,” said the tweet in Hindi.
Also read: If Nitish becomes Bihar CM, credit goes to Shiv Sena: Saamana
Meanwhile, the buzz in political circles is that Mr. Modi may be inducted into the Union Cabinet through a Rajya Sabha seat, vacant after the demise of Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan . “Hon’ble Sushil ji, you are a leader and held the post of Deputy CM… you will be a leader of the BJP in future too. No one becomes small or big through a post,” tweeted Union Minister Giriraj Singh.
The NDA, which comprises the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal (United), Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM) and the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) won 125 seats in the 243-member Assembly. The BJP alone won 74 seats and the JD(U) 43, a steep drop from the 71 it won in 2015. HAM-S and VIP won four seats each.