Patna: Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took oath as Bihar chief minister for the eighth time in a ceremony at Raj Bhawan. Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav was administered the oath of office as deputy chief minister.
The no-frills ceremony comes a day after Kumar snapped ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and joined hands with the RJD to form a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government. Hours after resigning as the coalition government's CM on Tuesday, Nitish again staked claim for his position.
After taking the oath, Kumar said that it was the JD(U)'s collective decision to exit the NDA. "The party made the decision together... whether I will stay or not (till 2024)...they can say what they want, but I will not live in the year 2014," he told news agency ANI.
The CM asserted that the NDA government at the Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to "worry" about its prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He added that the new Mahagathbandhan-led state government will run just fine as he reacted to the BJP's claims of an early fall of the new government.
The Mahagathbandhan comprises seven parties — RJD, Congress, JD(U), and Left parties, including CPI, CPIML and others.
Earlier, Kumar told the media that he had submitted a list of 164 MLAs to the governor who will decide when the oath-taking can take place. The effective strength of the state Assembly is 242 and the magic figure is 122.
Ahead of his swearing-in, Kumar also called RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and briefed him on the developments ahead of his oath-taking ceremony.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Sushil Modi has claimed that Yadav would be the de-facto CM of Bihar. Speaking to ANI, he said, "Nitish Kumar is just the titular Head. They (RJD) have a strength of 80, you have 45-46. Everyone knows how Lalu Yadav works. Nitish Kumar will be CM just for show & real CM will be Tejashwi Yadav."
Further, the BJP also called Kumar a "habitual betrayer". The party is holding protests in different places against JD(U) move.
Kumar had deserted the NDA for the first time in 2013 after Narendra Modi became the coalition's Prime Ministerial candidate and then again ditched his coalition with the RJD-Congress combine in 2017 to walk back into the NDA camp.
(With PTI inputs)