New Delhi: Union Law Ministry in Delhi has called a meeting of Chief Ministers on Saturday. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to skip the meeting. The Bihar Chief Minister has, instead, asked his Law Minister to stand in for him.
His refusal to join the meeting is considered a sign that he is upset with his ally BJP. Recent statements by various leaders appeared to suggest his replacement by a “BJP Chief Minister”. Officially, he is flying to Purnia to attend the launch of an ethanol factory.
BJP MLA Vinay Bihari openly said that Nitish Kumar should be openly removed or replaced as Chief Minister by his deputy Tarkishore Prasad of the BJP. Nitish Kumar has been struggling to keep up appearances, say his aides.
On Iftar, the strain was witnessed. At the event, the Chief Minister was seen to greet opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) more warmly than deputy Tarkishore Prasad.
Nitish Kumar also made a point of seeing off Tejashwi Yadav and his brother Tej Pratap Yadav. He did so by breaking with convention by leaving the location before the Chief Minister. Leaders of the Janata Dal United claimed he was merely trying to be a nice host.
But according to NDTV sources, Nitish is angling for a strong and public denial from the BJP and a guarantee that he will stay the full term. He will serve and stay not only from Bihar BJP leaders but from the top leadership. If he was looking for reassurance during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent visit to Patna, it never came, say sources.
Nitish Kumar is set to shuffle his cabinet. New ministers from both JDU and BJP will be seen onboard. The BJP has hinted at “non-performers” being dropped.
However, the BJP, which emerged as a senior partner in Bihar’s 2020 election by winning more seats than Nitish Kumar, has not ruled out the possibility of projecting a new chief ministerial face – Nityanand Rai.
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