As the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) looked set to retain Bihar with a comfortable majority, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar received a call from Home Minister Amit Shah. Sources said Amit Shah dialled Nitish Kumar to discuss the results but the details are not known yet.
While the NDA is on top in Bihar, Nitish Kumar has been reduced to number three, behind even the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party of Tejashwi Yadav, the son of his arch-rival Lalu Yadav.
Nitish Kumar, 69, is likely losing the senior partner status that he enjoyed in Bihar for years. While the BJP insists he will remain Chief Minister in the event of an NDA win, Nitish Kumar’s power is likely to be greatly diminished.
He may have to deal with more BJP members in his cabinet and may be forced to play second fiddle, at least unofficially. But some reports suggest there is also a feeling within a section of the BJP that with Nitish Kumar in no position to call the shots, his Chief Ministership can no longer be a given.
The BJP has never had a Chief Minister in Bihar and it has never won these many seats. But Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal United has made it clear – the BJP had given its word before the election that he would be chief minister irrespective of the number of seats he won. The party also pointed out that without it, the BJP could not hope to get a majority in Bihar.
“Whether we win less or more votes, Nitish Kumar will be chief minister and this was assured by top leaders of the central BJP. Only some vested interests are speaking against Nitish Kumar,” said JDU spokesperson KC Tyagi.
Amit Shah notably skipped Bihar in the final weeks of campaign and chose to visit Bengal, where elections are due six months later.