Nitish Kumar Back as Bihar CM for Record 9th Term

Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the record ninth time on August 10, 2022. He returns to power just 18 months after leaving the BJP-led NDA, in his fifth such switch since 2015. Six ministers and two Deputy CMs from BJP also took oath.

Justifying Latest Political Somersault

Nitish claimed the move was “in Bihar’s interest”, while the BJP called it necessary “for the state’s development”. However, previous alliance partner RJD predicted JD(U)’s demise as a party from the break-up, despite having tied up over ideological compatibility earlier.

The Serial Political Turncoat

Since 2005, Nitish has continually changed political loyalties to remain CM barring 2014-15. He has partnered with BJP thrice earlier (2005-13, 2017-22, 2022 onwards) and with RJD twice (2015-17, 2022), displaying uncanny political dexterity.

7 Things That Define Nitish Kumar

First BJP Alliance in 1996

Nitish was part of Bihar’s socialist leaders emerging during the 1974 JP movement. He realized aligning with BJP suited his party Samata Party’s interests, first in 1996 to become an MP and then in 2000 for a 7-day CM stint.

Resigned in 1999 Over Train Tragedy

As the Railway Minister, Nitish resigned in 1999 when Gaisal train disaster caused 285 deaths, taking moral responsibility. His tenure drew praise for railway reforms.

Departed NDA Over Modi’s Selection

Before 2014 polls, Nitish rejected NDA’s PM candidate Narendra Modi over not having a “secular image”. This surprised many over his previous closeness with BJP.

Quit as CM Over 2014 Debacle

After JD(U) crashed from 20 to just 2 LS seats in 2014, Nitish resigned as CM given the poor show. This brought a rare non-Nitish CM in Bihar – Jitan Manjhi for a few months.

Son Stays Away From Politics

Unlike dynasts, Nitish’s son Nishant avoids politics despite being richer. As of 2021, Nitish had assets worth ₹75 lakhs versus ₹3.6 crores for Nishant.

Indispensability For All Parties

Despite his unreliable nature, all parties welcome Nitish due to his clean image that RJD lacks and absence of a Bihar BJP CM face, cementing his indispensability.

Tenure Versus Number of Terms

At 17 years as CM over 9 terms, Nitish trails others who have had fewer but longer tenures, like Pawan Chamling (24 years) and Naveen Patnaik (23 years).



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