Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose JD(U) has suffered a setback in the assembly elections even as the ruling alliance managed to retain power, said on Thursday that the NDA will take a decision on who the next chief minister will be.
“I have made no claim, the decision will be taken by the NDA,” Nitish said, adding that he has also left to the BJP to take a call on whether to retain the Lok Janshakti Party in the alliance.
LJP chief Chirag Paswan’s decision to break away from the NDA and contest solo in the election had damaged the prospects of the JD(U) in at least 40 seats.
Nitish said all the four parties of the alliance will meet on Friday to take a decision on the swearing in of the new government.
“It is not decided yet when the oath ceremony will take place, whether after Diwali or Chhath. We are analysing the results of this election. Members of all four parties will meet tomorrow,” Nitish said.
The JD(U) chief is expected to get full backing of all constituents of the NDA, including the BJP, which has outperformed his party in the assembly elections.
The BJP has returned with a tally of 74 while the JD(U) has reduced to 43. In addition, the NDA in Bihar includes former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM(S) and Bollywood technician-turned-politician Mukesh Sahni’s VIP which have won four seats each.
Speculation is rife in political circles that Nitish will be sworn in on Monday, the day ‘Bhaiyya Dooj’ festival will be celebrated, as it is considered an auspicious day.
The impressive performance of the BJP had sparked off speculations on whether Nitish would relinquish the CM post. However, with top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, strongly endorsing Kumar as the chief minister, there are no doubts over a fourth straight term for him in the high office.
Meanwhile, Nitish declined to comment on the allegations by opposition leaders, including RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, that the process of counting of votes was rigged to help the NDA which got a slender majority and won by wafer-thin margins in several seats.