Hopscotch: Nitish's dance with BJP, Congress in Bihar

Nitish Kumar's history of shifting sides between NDA and the Grand Alliance

Nitish Kumar had shifted from one side to the other in his near 15 years as CM of the state

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar with PM Modi. Credit: PTI Photo

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is famed for shifting alliances at the drop of a hat. He was first elected to office in 2000 when JD(U) was an NDA member. However, he resigned days after he took oath, but before he could prove his numbers. NDA and its allies had 151 seats, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD had 159 MLAs both falling short of the required 163 seats.

In the polls held in November 2005, he came back to power as an NDA member. JD(U) was the majority seat winner with BJP ranking second.

In 2010, JD(U) was able to secure power once again, and Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister yet again, as a member of BJP-led NDA. The alliance won 206 seats and was a landslide victory for the side.

In 2014, he resigned as Chief Minister after JD(U) performed poorly in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party won just 2 seats compared to 20 it secured in 2009. Kumar took responsibility for the party’s poor performance and Jitan Ram Manjhi took over, but not for long as Nitish returned soon after

In the 2015 Assembly elections, Kumar’s party JD(U) contested as a member of the Mahagathbandhan. RJD and Congress were the other members of the alliance. Nitish Kumar campaigned aggressively for the Grand Alliance despite barbs being shot at him by the BJP. The Mahagathbandhan saw a landslide victory, with a margin of 178 over NDA. RJD was the largest party with 80 seats and JD(U) had 71 seats. RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav became Deputy CM of the state.

After corruption charges were levelled against Tejashwi Yadav and other RJD leaders, Nitish Kumar asked Yadav to resign from the cabinet, but after his refusal to resign, Kumar removed himself from the alliance, in July 2017. This was the end of the Mahagathbandhan.

However, within a day, BJP offered their support and Nitish Kumar came back to power.

This time around, Kumar has stuck to the NDA and is contesting the 2020 elections with the support of the alliance.