As JDU leader Nitish Kumar parts ways with the RJD and returns to the NDA fold, his fifth flip-flop in a decade, his statements after every jump across the political aisle have started doing the rounds.
Mr Kumar resigned as Bihar Chief Minister this morning and then staked claim to form a new government with the BJP as his ally. The swearing-in, likely this evening, will mark the beginning of Mr Kumar’s ninth term as Chief Minister.
Here’s what Nitish Kumar said after every switch:
In his first remarks after the resignation, Mr Kumar said, “I had quit an earlier alliance for a new tie-up. But the situation was not okay. So I have resigned. I was facing difficulties in working with this alliance. When I explained this to party members, they advised me to resign,” he told the media.
He also referred to the INDIA alliance and how things were not moving. “I got an alliance forged, but nobody was doing anything,” he said, in an apparent reference to the Opposition bloc that aims to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls this year.
In what appeared to be a swipe at estranged ally RJD, he said, “People were claiming that they are doing all the work.”
A year-old video of Nitish Kumar started doing the rounds over the past couple of days as buzz of the impending reversal echoed through corridors of power. Months after he walked out of the alliance with the BJP in August 2022, Mr Kumar had told the media, “The question does not arise. I would prefer to die rather than go with them (BJP).
In the video that has now gone viral, his former Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is seen next to him. Mr Kumar had then said his decision to revive his alliance with the BJP was a “mistake”.
“Listen carefully. They (BJP) went through so much effort. They slapped cases against Tejashwi and his father to get me on board. Now again, they are trying to get after them. These people keep doing such things,” he had said.
Two years after the Mahagathbandhan of JDU, RJD and Congress pulled off a thumping win in the Bihar polls, Mr Kumar walked out of the alliance pointing to corruption charges against then Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and his family members.
“It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t take a stand, I don’t do politics of this kind. I felt suffocated, my conscience pricked me. there was no other way,” Mr Kumar, once known for his clean image, had then told the media. In another statement, in which he did not name any party but was apparently targeting RJD, he had said, “Many JD(U) MLAs were being lured to defect from the party. My MLAs refused all allurements and told me who came with huge offers to them.”
Mr Kumar’s 2013 exit from the NDA, after a 17-year-old alliance, was the first in his series of flip-flops. The bone of contention then was the BJP’s choice of Narendra Modi as its face for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“Our parting ways from the NDA is the BJP’s failure. You created a situation in which the old allies walked away. An alliance does not run under compulsion. If any party wants to form a government, the responsibility is of that party to get the support of other parties if it is not in a position to get the numbers for it on its own. And here an old ally was forced to leave,” Mr Kumar had said.