Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi will take oath on Nov.16, as chief minister and deputy chief minister of Bihar, respectively. (File Image)

Nitish to take oath for 7th time on Nov 16, SuMo to remain his deputy

The national president of Janata Dal (United), Nitish Kumar, who was on Sunday elected as the leader of the NDA in the Bihar Assembly, would take oath as the chief minister of the state for the seventh time in the last 20 years. Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi will once again be his deputy, though he had to face roadblocks from within his party.

Earlier, after becoming the leader of the House Nitish went to Raj Bhawan to submit his resignation letter to Governor, Fagu Chauhan.

Against the smooth election of Nitish, there were hours of suspense in the saffron camp before the name of Sushil Modi as deputy chief minister was cleared. Since Saturday evening the names of two other leaders started doing the rounds for the post of deputy CM. They were eight-time MLA from Gaya, Prem Kumar, agriculture minister in the last cabinet, and Kameshwar Chaupal, a prominent Dalit face of the BJP.

It was Chaupal, who laid the foundation stone of Ram Mandir just beside Babri Masjid on November 9, 1989, that is only two weeks before the Lok Sabha election that year. Incidentally, it was on that very day 31-years ago that the leader of opposition in Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, was born. Chaupal is the member of Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, Ayodhya. He comes from Supaul district of Bihar and is called as the first Kar Sevak.

Suspense in the saffron camp

The suspense actually started after the arrival of defence minister Rajnath Singh, as an observer. He was scheduled to arrive at the head office of Bihar BJP where the new MLAs were holding their meeting to elect their leader. However, after landing at Patna airport, where he held a brief  meeting with some senior state leaders, he drove to the State Guest House and then to the chief minister’s bungalow.

It was here that all the BJP legislators were summoned. Both the BJP and Janata Dal (United) legislative parties held separate meetings. Reports suggest that there was objection from some quarters within the BJP to the name of Sushil Modi. For a brief period the name of Mangal Pandey, health minister in the outgoing cabinet, also came up. However, Rajnath Singh disclosed the name of Sushil Modi just while going to Raj Bhawan.

The high darma within the BJP was the fall-out of the squabbling within the party during the recently held Assembly election.

Oath For Seventh Time

Nitish became the chief minister for the first time on March 3, 2000. But he had to resign after seven days on March 10 as his government failed to prove a majority in the House. He became the chief minister for the second and third time on November 24, 2005 and November 26, 2010 after winning the successive Assembly elections.

Following the debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha election Nitish resigned taking moral responsibility for the poor performance of Janata Dal (United) which could win only two out of 40 seats. He hand-picked a Mahadalit minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and made him CM. Nine months later he once again replaced Manjhi to become CM on February 22, 2015. He took oath once again on November 20, 2015 after leading the Grand Alliance to victory.

However, on July 26, 2017 he resigned as the Grand Alliance chief minister and a day later was sworn in as the chief minister of the National Democratic Alliance for the sixth time.

Thus on November 16 he would be taking oath for the seventh time, the highest number of times by anyone in the state.

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