Mauled in the Lok Sabha elections and facing dissidence within, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar resigned on Saturday, but did not seek dissolution of the Assembly.
The Lok Sabha election results have not been good for JD(U). The peoples mandate has to be respected. So, I have tendered the resignation of my council of ministers. I had led the campaign. So, it is my duty to take moral responsibility and I must take, he told reporters after sending the resignation to Bihar governor DY Patil. The governor has accepted Nitish Kumar's resignation and that of the Cabinet, as per a Raj Bhavan communique.
However, he made it clear that he had not sought dissolution of the Assembly and options were open for formation of an alternative government.
Apparently taking a high moral ground, Kumar said he has called a meeting of the JD(U) legislature party on Sunday to elect a new leader and maintained that there was no threat to the government which enjoys a majority.
In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, JD(U) has 115 members, while BJP has 89 and RJD 21. JD(U) has the support of four members of Congress, one of CPI and two independents. There are six vacancies. The party won only two of the 40 seats in the state in the Lok Sabha polls.
Significantly, at a meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday, six of the 14 ministers did not turn up. The tenure of the present Assembly is due to expire in November next year.
When told that former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had claimed that 50 JD(U) MLAs dissatisfied with him were on the verge of defecting to the BJP and had even helped the saffron party in the LS polls, he said, Now he has a golden opportunity to form his own government as I have not recommended dissolution of the House.
I have said goodbye ... now they have the opportunity... they are free to do whatever they want, he said.
Asked what would be his stand if the Legislature party wanted him to again lead the state, he said, I know only one thing that I have tendered my resignation and that of my Cabinet. Rest of the things, the party will decide. Questioned about his future, he said he would continue to work as a party leader as he did earlier.
At a press conference in Delhi, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav maintained a new