Lok Janshakti Party President Chirag Paswan on Monday took a swipe at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his party’s weak performance in the Bihar Assembly elections. His criticism was veiled in congratulatory tweet for Kumar after his oath-taking ceremony.
“Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for becoming the chief minister again,” Paswan said in a tweet. “I hope the government will complete its tenure and you will continue to be Chief Minister of the NDA [National Democratic Alliance].”
Paswan also congratulated the Bharatiya Janata Party for “making Kumar” the chief minister. “I am sending you the vision document made by 4 lakh Biharis, so you complete the work that you can,” Paswan said. “Once again, congratulations to you again on becoming chief minister and [to] the BJP for making you the chief minister.”
Kumar was on Monday sworn in as the chief minister of Bihar for the fourth term. BJP leaders Renu Kumari and Tarkishore Prasad took oath as the state’s deputy chief ministers.
Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal boycotted the ceremony in Patna. The party again alleged that there had been a fraud in the elections.
The RJD also claimed that the state was getting a “helpless government by the two helpless parties”. Bihar will have a “Chief Minister who has been proven weak, idle and corrupt,” the RJD added. “And a senior partner [BJP] who has no [chief ministerial] face and is forced to resort to dubious means [for earning majority].”
RJD mocked Kumar for reportedly saying that he did not want to become chief minister but was insisted by the BJP to continue in the post. “I did not want to become chief minister because my party came third and also I was tired, but, several BJP leaders grabbed my feet, started crying and pleading before me,” RJD said in a sarcastic tweet. “I, being a soft-hearted, power-hungry mendicant, was moved. How could I annoy them.”
Later in the day, Yadav also sent a sarcastic congratulatory message to Kumar. Congratulations to Nitish Kumar for being ‘nominated’ the chief minister,” Yadav tweeted. “I hope instead of pursuing his political ambitions, he will fulfil the NDA’s promise of 19 lakh jobs, and prioritise employment, education, healthcare etc.”
The NDA won the Bihar elections by a slim majority. It secured 125 seats in the 243-member state Assembly. Significantly, the JD(U), for the first time in Bihar, won fewer seats than the BJP, pulling in just 43 to its ally’s 74. This was JD(U)’s worst performance since the 2005 Assembly polls. The Opposition Grand Alliance bagged 110 seats.
Paswan’s party managed to win just one seat but was observed to have hit JD(U)’s performance. LJP’s vote share went up to 5.7%, as compared to 4.8% in the 2015 elections. In 64 of the 137 seats it contested, the LJP came third but received more votes than the margin of victory.