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Politics
Bihar’s reins again in Nitish Kumar’s hand; to take oath on Sunday
21-02-2015

PATNA: Nitish Kumar will get back the reins of Bihar on Sunday, capping a fortnight-long political drama which ended in an anti-climax with rebel JD(U) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi resigning as chief minister shortly before the floor test on Friday sensing imminent defeat.

“The Governor accepted our claim to form government and invited me to take oath in Raj Bhavan at 5 PM on February 22," Kumar told reporters after meeting Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and staking claim to form government.

Kumar, who was accompanied by RJD, Congress, CPI MLAs and an independent legislator, said he has been asked to prove his majority on the floor of Assembly in three weeks time before March 16.

His government would take a decision to call the new budget session and fix a date for the Governor's speech in the joint session, the chief minister-designate said.

A series of high-voltage political events that saw Kumar back to power after nine months began on Friday with the resignation of Manjhi who sensed the clear lack of number to pass the crucial floor test in the Assembly.

Manjhi, who had been throwing a challenge to Kumar with the support of a handful of dissident JD(U) legislators and ministers and support from BJP, submitted his resignation to the Governor at 10:15 AM in the morning.

With politics taking centre stage, Tripathi had cancelled his inaugural speech at the joint sitting of Bihar legislature.

Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary announced cancellation of the Governor's address due to 'special circumstances' and later adjourned the house sine die.

This would be the fourth time that Kumar will take on the mantle of Bihar Chief Minister. His first stint had lasted merely a week from March 3 to March 10 in 2000 and the second from November 24, 2005 to November 24, 2010.

The third term was from November 26, 2010 till he resigned from his post on May 17, 2014 in the wake of the debacle of JD(U) in the general election. He had then handpicked Manjhi to succeed him but the mentor and the protege later parted ways.

To questions by scribes whether parties supporting him would be part of his new government, Kumar did not give any categorical answer. “At the moment a new government will be formed,” he said.