Nitish Kumar Resigns: PM Modi congratulates him for ‘joining the fight against corruption’

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Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar resigned from his post of Bihar’s chief minister on Wednesday. The decision was announced after he met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at the Raj Bhavan. “The governor has accepted my resignation and asked me to continue working till the next development,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav had said he would not step down from his post. His father and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, too, had had ruled out Tejashwi’s resignation and refuted reports that Kumar had demanded it.

Speaking to reporters outside Raj Bhavan, Kumar said he had not asked anyone to resign. “On my part, I tried to hold the grand alliance together as much as I could,” he said. “I even spoke to Rahul Gandhi about it.”

“I had only asked for a clarification [on the corruption charges],” Kumar said. “…It is not possible to work in this environment. I tried and found that resigning was the solution.”

When asked about a possible alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Kumar said “Let us see what will happen in the future.”

Kumar said that while he had not asked anyone to resign, he had asked Tejashwi and Lalu Prasad Yadav to make a public announcement on the matter. “My conscience told me to quit,” NDTV quoted him as saying.

Tensions grew to a breaking point between the JD(U) and the RJD, which make up the “grand alliance” in Bihar along with the Congress, after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed corruption charges against Tejashwi Yadav and a number of others on July 7.

Kumar’s resignation came a day after he had said the CBI’s corruption allegations against the Yadavs would have no impact on the alliance. Kumar had been criticised for not acting against Tejashwi Yadav. The JD(U) had initially asked the deputy chief minister to resign.

Political reactions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Kumar on Twitter for “joining the fight against corruption”. The prime minister said it was time the public united in the fight against corruption and political differences in Bihar.

BJP leader Sushil Modi said the party was not in favour of participating in mid-term elections in the state. Sushil Modi told reporters at a press conference in Patna that the saffron party was happy Kumar did not bow down to the demands of the RJD.

Sushil Modi said a three-member panel has been formed to plan the party’s next steps, which will be approved by the BJP’s senior leaders.

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