Nitish Kumar set to be anointed Bihar CM at NDA meet

The date of swearing-in of the new government in Bihar will be finalised on Sunday, Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar said on Friday as he tendered his resignation as chief minister to governor Phagu Chauhan, setting in motion the process for formation of the newly elected NDA government in the state after the assembly elections.

The decision to submit his resignation was taken after the cabinet recommended immediate dissolution of the state’s assembly, people familiar with the matter said.

The governor accepted the resignation and asked Kumar to continue as the caretaker chief minister till the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is sworn in, the people said.

Earlier in the day, leaders from all four constituents of the NDA held an informal meeting at the chief minister’s official residence.

Briefing mediapersons after the meeting, Kumar said: “We sat together and decided to convene meeting of all legislators of all the four partners on November 15 at 12.30pm. All decisions including date of the swearing-in ceremony will be taken in that meeting. After the meeting and election of NDA leader, we will stake claim for formation of the government.”

He also said the current state cabinet will be holding its last meeting in the evening, where a decision on the dissolution of the assembly, the tenure of which expires on November 29, will be taken. “These formalities have to be completed before the formation of a new government. The cabinet’s recommendations will be forwarded to the governor whose approval will be followed by other steps leading to the formation of a new government,” he added.

While Kumar did not divulge more details of the issues discussed at the meeting, an NDA leader said representation of each constituent in the cabinet and election of the new assembly speaker was also discussed at the informal meeting.

Kumar, whose name has been endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is expected to be formally elected as the leader of the NDA legislature party at the November 15 meeting.

A senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the election of Nitish Kumar as the leader was just a formality.

The BJP is expected to elect its leader in the assembly at a legislature party meeting on Monday. Party functionaries said that the meeting will also endorse the name of Nitish Kumar for the post of CM.

The NDA, which consists of the BJP, JD(U), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), has won 125 seats in the 243-member assembly, with the BJP alone winning 74 seats. The JD(U), which had 71 MLAs after the 2015 election, has won 43 seats this time, while HAM-S and VIP have won four seats each.

Despite the BJP emerging as the largest party in the alliance, the top leadership of the party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has emphatically endorsed Kumar as the next chief minister.

At the cabinet meeting, which lasted barely 10 minutes, the chief minister thanked his cabinet colleagues for their cooperation, said Rana Randhir, a BJP leader who held the cooperatives portfolio in the dissolved cabinet and has returned as the MLA from Madhuban.

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