Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha on Sunday once again raised questions on the prospect of Nitish Kumar becoming the chief minister of Bihar, following the National Democratic Alliance’s narrow victory in the state elections.
Speaking to ANI, Jha claimed that Kumar will not be able to hold on to to the post for long enough because of the ruling alliance’s wafer-thin majority.
“Even the NDA and Bharatiya Janata Party must admit that had it not been a mandate for change, Nitish Ji would not have won around 40 seats,” Jha said. “You [Kumar] are on a wafer-thin majority, that too a managed one. A managed majority government does not last long.”
He also implied that the BJP would be calling the shots in the state after it emerged as the senior partner in the alliance, winning 74 seats, as compared to the Janata Dal (United)’s 43.
“They [JDU] do not have any alternative but to comply,” Jha said. “With around 40 seats Kumar is dreaming of becoming the chief minister. BJP has the script to that dream. Wait and watch what unfolds in Bihar.”
Jha had raised similar questions against Kumar earlier this week too, pointing out that the mandate was against him and that the “illusion” of the chief minister’s post will not last long.
On Sunday morning, in a cryptic message on Twitter he said Bihar was “still open.”
In an apparent reference to the allegations of fraud in the counting process made by his party, Jha said it was necessary to understand the “art of mandate management” in order to make sense of the “difference between people’s decision and results declared by the administration.”
Crucial NDA meeting today
Meanwhile, partners of the NDA will meet later on Sunday to decide on the leader of the legislature party in the Assembly, who will also become the chief minister. Besides the JD(U) and BJP, the alliance also comprises of Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha, and Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party.
In all likelihood, Kumar is expected to retain the chief minister’s post for a fourth successive term, with senior BJP leaders confirming so. However, there are reports suggesting that Kumar has expressed his “unwillingness” to continue as the chief minister following his party’s worst showing in 15 years.