Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday night said his party has offered to support the Janata Dal (United) and form a new government in Bihar, hours after JD(U) President Nitish Kumar resigned as chief minister citing major dissatisfaction with his former ally the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Modi said his party would back Kumar as chief minister, but did not specify whether the JD(U) had accepted its offer.
Kumar is yet to make a statement confirming or denying this, though murmurs of a BJP-JD(U) alliance were steadily doing the rounds by Wednesday night, with some reports even suggesting Kumar would be sworn in as chief minister at 5 pm on Thursday. Earlier in the day, when asked about a possible alliance with the BJP, Kumar had said “Let us see what will happen in the future.”
Almost immediately after Kumar resigned on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated him on Twitter for “joining the fight against corruption”. The prime minister said it was time the public united in the fight against corruption and political differences in Bihar. Kumar had tweeted in response, “I thank PM Modi for his comments on my resignation that he expressed via a tweet.”
Kumar has indicated support for the BJP government at the Centre in several ways over the past few weeks, most noticeably by distancing himself from the Opposition’s choice for the presidential elections, Meira Kumar, and supporting the National Democratic Alliance’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind instead.
In the Assembly
The JD(U) had won 71 seats in the 243-constituency Assembly elections in 2015, and had formed the government with the help of the RJD (80 seats) and the Congress (27 seats). The BJP had won 53 seats. This means the BJP and the JD(U) together have 124 seats, two more than the requisite majority.