Janata Dal (United) President Nitish Kumar on Friday said the National Democratic Alliance partners will meet on Sunday to decide who will be the next chief minister of Bihar, ANI reported. A meeting of the state Cabinet will also be held on Friday evening, he said.
Besides the JD(U), the NDA comprises the Bharatiya Janata Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha, and Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party. Both the smaller parties were with the Opposition in last year’s Lok Sabha elections.
“The legislature party meeting will happen on Sunday, November 15 at 12.30 pm,” Kumar told reporters, according to NDTV. “Things will be discussed in detail and all decisions will be taken at that time. What is decided will be informed to you all after that meeting.”
After an election that remained too close to call till the end, the ruling National Democratic Alliance was back in power in Bihar on early Wednesday morning with a slender majority. The coalition won 125 seats in the 243-member State Assembly. The Opposition Grand Alliance clinched 110. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, led by 31-year-old Tejashwi Yadav, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats.
Quite significantly, the Janata Dal (United) has, for the first time in Bihar, won fewer seats than the BJP, pulling in just 43 to the BJP’s 74. This was JD(U)‘s worst performance since the 2005 Assembly polls.
While trends suggest that Kumar has held on to his traditional support base, the Assembly poll results this time have raised a question on his stature. Experts believe that after emerging the dominant partner, the BJP might reconsider Bihar’s chief ministerial pick. Saffron leaders, however, have asserted that Kumar remains their choice as the next chief minister of Bihar as per “the party’s commitment”.
On Thursday, Kumar said that the decision on who will be the next chief minister will be taken by the alliance, indicating the matter is still being discussed despite assurances that he would retain the post. Meanwhile, RJD leader Yadav challenged Kumar to “listen to his conscience and step down”.