Nitish Kumar dumped BJP despite Amit Shah's phone call
New Delhi, Aug 10: Nitish Kumar, who took oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the eighth time on Wednesday, refused to continue with the NDA alliance despite getting assurance from Union Home Minister Amit Shah that "there was nothing to worry about."
Speaking in an interview with NDTV, former Bihar deputy CM and BJP leader Sushil Modi said that Nitish Kumar had received a call from Amit Shah two days before he decided to end the alliance with the BJP. "Two days back, Amit Shah called Nitish Kumar. Nitish said there's nothing to worry about. PM [Narendra] Modi also spoke to Nitish many times in the last 1.5 years, but he never complained," the TV channel quoted Modi as saying.
Startling allegations of backstabbing were made against the BJP by MLAs and MPs of the JD(U) on Tuesday at a meeting after which Nitish Kumar pulled the plug on the alliance.
According to PTI sources in the JD(U), who did not wish to be named, information, including call details, were shared which suggested that former national president RCP Singh, who resigned from the primary membership last week, had contacted "about a dozen MLAs and a minister at the BJP's behest, with the intention to split the party".
The JD(U) lawmakers, who unanimously backed Kumar's decision to dump the BJP, were of the view that things went fine till the 2019 Lok Sabha polls which the two parties, along with late Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, had swept, winning all but one of the 40 seats in the state.
"However, the BJP changed its colours once the assembly polls of 2020 approached. It was clearly behind the rebellion of Chirag Paswan who openly spoke of dislodging Nitish Kumar and fielded his candidates, many of them so-called rebels of the BJP, in all seats the JD(U) contested," the same sources said.
They also alleged that RCP Singh, who was then the national general secretary (organisation), had tried to ensure defeat of many JD(U) candidates whom he did not like.
Paswan's brinkmanship, coupled with Singh's alleged role, indeed, proved costly to the JD(U) a lot as its tally plunged to 43, from 71 in the 2015 assembly polls which the party had contested in alliance with the RJD and the Congress.
Singh went on to clinch a berth in the Union cabinet a few months after Kumar returned as chief minister for yet another term. His induction, however, did not have the approval of Kumar, the party's de facto leader, and he was denied another Rajya Sabha term which caused him to resign.
The JD(U) leaders also complained of "non-cooperation" by ministers belonging to the BJP, which had a lion's share in the cabinet owing to the saffron camp's superior numerical strength in the Assembly.
Meanwhile, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took oath as Bihar Chief Minister in a no-frills ceremony at Raj Bhavan, a day after snapping ties with the BJP-led NDA and joining hands with the RJD to form a 'Mahagathbandhan' government.
Kumar was sworn in besides RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, who is likely to be designated as his deputy.