Scripted well: A few hours that changed Bihar

On Wednesday, that script appeared straight out of a Bollywood potboiler, playing out over a few hours beginning in the evening, and ending past midnight. Nitish is learnt to have said, “The past is past. Let us work together with renewed energy and commitment, with zero tolerance for corruption.”

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: July 28, 2017 9:41 am
Nitish Kumar, Grand Alliance, JD(U) NDA, BJP, Narendra modi, India news, Indian Express Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, left, and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi share a light moment after oath taking ceremony at Raj Bhawan in Patna, India, Thursday, July 27, 2017. (AP Photo)

Late last week, a JD(U) legislator had met Nitish Kumar in the middle of the continuing tension in Bihar’s Grand Alliance. Nitish had asked the legislator to avoid criticising the RJD. Just when it looked a sort of gag order from the CM, he had added, almost faintly, “Ab toh conclusion ka samay aa gaya hai (it’s time for the finale).”

JD(U) leaders say it was a broad hint that Nitish Kumar had by then almost readied his script for his return to the NDA.

On Wednesday, that script appeared straight out of a Bollywood potboiler, playing out over a few hours beginning in the evening, and ending past midnight.

The JD(U)’s legislature party meet was originally scheduled for Thursday, but Nitish advanced it to Wednesday evening — to follow up on the outcome of the RJD legislature party meet the same afternoon, say JD(U) leaders. As RJD reiterated its stand that Tejashwi Yadav will not resign as deputy CM, Nitish decided to act. He had the option of recommending the Governor that Tejashwi be sacked but JD(U) leaders say that would have given RJD a chance to play the victim card.

When all MLAs and MLCs gathered at the CM’s 1-Anne Marg residence on Wednesday evening, Nitish took the microphone and is learnt to have elaborated every fine point since the CBI raids at Lalu Prasad’s premises on July 7. He subsequently spoke about his efforts to address the issue, and waiting for some solution to emerge, according to JD(U) leaders.

“Since no solution has come, and I have been at struggle with myself for two days, I have decided to resign,” he is learnt to have said — an announcement received with a thunderous applause by JD(U) legislators.

Time was promptly sought, and received, from Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

After resigning, Nitish took media questions for the first time since the July 7 raids. During his long conversation with the media, Nitish dropped enough hints of a political realignment with the BJP.

Back at 1-Anne Marg, he watched Lalu speak on TV channels. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had by then tweeted his congratulatory message, and Nitish responded promptly. Sources said the Prime Minister called Nitish later.

Within half-an-hour, Nitish received a call from Sushil Modi.

“Arey BJP ke log aa rahe hain, khana bhi khayenge (BJP MLAs are coming, they will dine with us),” he is learnt to have told his staff. The kitchen already looked prepared for 60-odd guests, according to a source close to the CM. Chairs were laid out. On the menu was puri, aloo sabzi, paneer, and daal — a vegetarian fare in the month of saawan.

Almost all top BJP leaders in the state — Sushil Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar, Nityanand Rai, besides Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former chief minister — arrived in a cheerful mood. Sushil Modi is learnt to have made it clear almost immediately that the BJP would join the government. NDA legislators promptly chose Nitish as their leader.

Nitish is learnt to have said, “The past is past. Let us work together with renewed energy and commitment, with zero tolerance for corruption.”

A nostalgic Sushil Modi reportedly told Nitish: “Lag raha hai mai koi sapna dekh raha hoon (it seems I am dreaming). Even though we had parted ways, we always shared a mutual respect. Whenever the Prime Minister discusses about you, he talks about your good work.” As JD(U) and BJP leaders present cheered, Nitish smiled at Sushil, his old comrade from JP movement days.

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  1. Damodar Biswal
    Jul 28, 2017 at 4:12 pm
    All these things happened because of Lalu's loot n excessive weakness for his family.To save the alliance,he could have asked his son to resign.But he wanted his sons to learn the art of looting before giving of power.I do not hold Nitish responsible for the fall of alliance Govt. It is Lalu,who is responsible.
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      s ramji
      Jul 28, 2017 at 3:41 pm
      u want country to believe that the coalition happened in just 1-2 hours- its certainly a pre planned one-all meetings scheduled accordingly.
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        bahadur.pritam
        Jul 28, 2017 at 12:44 pm
        KUDOS Nitish for your bold decision against corruption.One cannot imagine how an unemployed youth can amass such a huge property.Like father like son.
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          Kamal Pasha
          Jul 28, 2017 at 12:04 pm
          To loot India and make every Indian fool is the easiest thing nowadays in Modi's Raj. Everything is free for all in India.
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          1. Damodar Biswal
            Jul 28, 2017 at 4:14 pm
            Lalu did not loot the country during Modi's time,sir>
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          2. suresh ganpat
            Jul 28, 2017 at 10:55 am
            It is all so nauseating that I can't even feel like reading this stuff to the end..worst kind of opportunistic politics by Nitish whom we used to respect for his straightforwardness..but now it all turns out to be nothing but lust for power..I am no supporter of Lalu, but the way Nitish changed colors is simply abominable as it is a worst mockery of popular mandate..
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            1. Damodar Biswal
              Jul 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm
              Why don't u make Lalu responsible for the episode because of his love for his son,like Dhitarastra in Mahabharat?He could have avoided the fall of the ministry by asking his son to resign.Do u support his loot?
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