Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Tejashwi Yadav will lead the Mahagathbandhan, or the Grand Alliance, in the 2025 Bihar Assembly elections, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced on Tuesday, reported NDTV.
The alliance consists of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation, and Communist Party of India (Marxist).
In recent weeks, Kumar had been dropping hints, suggesting that Yadav, his deputy, would be his political heir.
“We are doing a lot,” he had said on Monday. “And if there’s anything left to do in the future, then Tejashwi will keep working and will get it all done. Those who want to divide us, don’t try to create trouble at anyone’s bidding. We must stay united and work together. There should be no friction.”
On Tuesday, Kumar also announced that the present term would be his last as a chief minister. He further reiterated that he will not contest for the prime minister’s post.
“We want all Opposition parties to come together and defeat the BJP in the 2024 [Lok Sabha] polls,” the chief minister added, reported The Indian Express.
On the development, Yadav said: “For now, 2024 [elections] is the goal. Everything else will come after that.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, sees the development as another calculated move by Kumar.
“Knowing and seeing Nitish Kumar’s political moves all these years, the statement regarding projecting Tejashwi in 2025 polls looks like a political ploy,” BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said. “A leader like Nitish can never live without power.”
Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son of former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, had led the Grand Alliance to an impressive electoral performance in the 2020 Assembly polls when Kumar was allied with the BJP.
While the Grand Alliance had lost the elections bagging only 110 seats in the 243-member Assembly, the Rashtriya Janata Dal had emerged as the single largest party by winning 75 seats. The BJP-Janata Dal (United) coalition won the polls by securing 125 seats.
Yadav, who became the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, then continued to castigate the ruling government till Kumar fell out of his alliance with the BJP and severed all ties with it on August 9.
Kumar took oath as chief minister of Bihar for the eighth time with support from the Rashtriya Janata Dal and six other parties of the Grand Alliance.