Sindhu Jha & Saji Chacko
In a move that could have major political implications, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed his desire to hand over the baton to his deputy Tejashwi Yadav in the 2025 Assembly elections.
Though Kumar has ruled himself out as a PM-candidate for the next Lok Sabha elections, his political intent became sufficiently clear with his latest remarks. It also became obvious that he wants to play a major role in uniting the fragmented opposition — the role of Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) battling the Emergency in 1975 to 1977.
The Bihar CM’s comments came during a meeting he held with the ruling Mahagathbandhan legislators in Nalanda. According to sources, the CM pointed towards Tejashwi and said he was the leader of the future. Notably, Tejashwi had steered the ‘Mahagathbandhan’, which did not have the support of Nitish Kumar, to an impressive performance in the 2020 Assembly polls in which the NDA managed to scrape through.
On his part, he avoided any direct reference to Nitish Kumar’s remarks and said right now he was concentrating only on running the Government. The principle challenge, he said, remained the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting to the development, BJP leader and former minister Nitin Nabin said, “If Nitish Kumar wants to make someone his successor, he should show the moral courage to step down and hand over the CM’s chair to Tejashwi.” State BJP Vice-President, Devesh Kumar told Blitz India on phone, “The political memory of the people of Bihar is not short; they still remember the former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi episode as to how he was unceremoniously dumped by Nitish Kumar. He is a power hungry leader and a great opportunist”.