Modi’s party loses power in Bihar after alliance setback
The BJP-led coalition won 39 out of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar in the 2019 general election. FILE PHOTO: Nitish Kumar (MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
A COALITION, comprising prime minister Narendra Modi’s party has lost power in Bihar, the third most populous state in India after its partner pulled out on Tuesday (9).
Bihar sends the fourth most number of elected lawmakers to parliament and is considered politically very important in the Hindi-speaking belt of the country.
The downfall of the coalition comes ahead of the 2024 general election which Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is still expected to win for a third straight term unless disparate opposition parties come together to give him a fight.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, from the regional Janata Dal (United) party, told reporters he resigned after elected representatives of his party recommended exiting the BJP coalition. He did not say why.
Kumar later met leaders of the main opposition party in the northern state – the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Kumar is expected to form a fresh government, armed with the support of the entire opposition, including left parties.
The BJP said Kumar had “betrayed” it and the people of Bihar, after having together won the last state election in 2020.
The BJP-led coalition won 39 out of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar in the 2019 general election, helping Modi win one of the biggest mandates in India in decades.
Union minister Ashwini Choubey those “betraying” Bihar wanted to create obstacles in its development.
“The BJP does not suppress anyone, does not betray anyone. Those people betraying Bihar want to create obstacles to its development. The development of Bihar has been a priority for us from the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to the Modi government,” Choubey told a TV channel.
“Despite (Kumar’s party) having fewer seats, we made him chief minister. He has deceived the people twice. He is suffering from arrogance,” the BJP functionary said.
Asked about Kumar’s imminent tie-up with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Choubey said, “when doom approaches, one loses wisdom”.
“Where is the talk of zero tolerance on corruption? He is opportunistic, he keeps looking for opportunities. This is my personal opinion,” Choubey added.