Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who won the floor test in the Bihar Assembly on Friday, said his mandate was to serve the people of the country and not just one family. Kumar proved his majority in the House with 131 votes in his favour against the Opposition’s 108. Four legislators did not vote.
“The mandate is to serve the people and not to profit [Mandate janta ki seva ke liye tha, na ki rajbhog, mewa ke liye],” said Kumar during his 10-minute speech in the Bihar Assembly, The Times of India reported. “The people’s court is the biggest court and it is my duty to serve them but I can not serve only one family.”
Taking a dig at Rashtriya Janta Dal President Lalu Prasad Yadav, Kumar said,“I cannot be with such people who indulge in committing sins besides amassing property through corrupt means in the garb of secularism.”
Kumar said he does not need lessons in secularism. “Secularism has to do with ideology and it is not a cover-up for corruption,” he said.
Explaining his decision to walk out of the grand alliance, Nitish said, “I asked him [ Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav] to explain the accusations of graft against him but he was not in a position to furnish a reply,” said Kumar. “I took the decision in the best interest of Bihar and its development.... Now there is the rule of the NDA both at the Centre and in Bihar and the state will touch new heights of development,” the CM said.
New state administration
Kumar had resumed charge as chief minister by replacing his former allies, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
After Kumar was sworn in on Thursday, the BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi took oath as his deputy. The JD(U) chief assumed office with the support of 132 legislators – 71 MLAs from his own party, 53 from the BJP, two each from the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and the Lok Janshakti Party, one from the Hindustani Awam Morcha and three Independents.
Kumar had stepped down as chief minister on Wednesday evening, saying he could not work in the environment created after the Central Bureau of Investigation charged Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswhi Yadav with corruption. His father, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, too, is embroiled in a number of corruption cases.
“I made this decision in the interest of Bihar, and my commitment is to serve Bihar and its people,” Kumar told reporters after taking oath.
Over the past few months, Kumar’s growing closeness with the BJP had consistently been a bone of contention between him and his allies. Right before the crisis in the Bihar government came to a head, Kumar had distanced himself further from the Opposition at the Centre, by choosing not to back their candidate for the presidential polls, but supporting the National Democratic Alliance’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind instead.
By taking over the Bihar government as a JD(U) ally, the BJP now rules every major Hindi-speaking state, and all but three states in the country’s north.