In less than 24 hours of his party's decimation in Bihar, Nitish Kumar resigned as the state's chief minister on Saturday, citing moral responsibility for the poor show. Governor D.Y. Patil has accepted Nitish's resignation, but the Bihar Assembly has not yet been dissolved.
Nitish's resignation comes amid talk of growing dissent and speculation of a split within the JD(U), which had an acrimonious split with the BJP in the state government last year. That decision seemed to have cost the party in the Parliamentary election as its tally was down from 22 of Bihar's 40 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 to just two this time.
"I led the party's campaign in the state and since we performed poorly, I take moral responsibility of the defeat and thus resign," he said at a press conference.
The party's legislative members will meet on Sunday evening to decide on their leader. The party state unit president, Vasist Narayan Singh, told dna's sister concern, Zee Purvaiya, "He (Nitish) will be chosen the leader again."
But the stage is set for the formation of another government in the state. While the RJD is maintaining that it is closely monitoring the situation, the BJP is refraining from staking the claim for now. Former deputy chief minister and BJP leader Sushil Modi had indicated several times that atleast 50 JD(U) MLAs were in constant touch with the BJP. "The government will collapse on its own," he had indicated earlier. The BJP did not want to be the instrument of the fall of the government.
Rumblings within the JD(U) have now become pronounced. The question is will the majority within the JD(U) accept Nitish again. Party insiders indicate that several top leaders of the JDU are in touch with the BJP and "a demand for change in leadership may crop up at the meet".
Moments after Nitish resigned, Sushil Modi tweeted: "It is all Drama of Nitsih Kumar. He is emotionally blacmailing his dissident MLA's who are in a mood to revolt."
—(With inputs from Saket Kumar)