Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday, July 26, resigned as the chief minister of Bihar, a little more than one and a half years after he had assumed the position in a new coalition government.
A few hours later, the BJP MLAs in Bihar decided that they would support the JD-U and create a new coalition regime.
The government in Bihar was being run in an alliance the JD-U had formed with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), a party led by former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. The Congress was also a part of the coalition.
Nitish tendered his formal resignation to Governor Keshriu Nath Tripathi, who had taken charge of Bihar because his predecessor Ram Nath Kovind had just been elected President of India and had been sworn in just a day ago.
Tejaswhi is flashpoint
Nitish's resignation also marked the JD-U breaking ranks with the RJD and the Congress. The parties have been sparring for some time over allegations of corruption against Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
There have been calls from many quarters for Tejaswhi to resign from his post over the allegations, but he and his father have stood firm.
Nitish however said after tendering his resignation that he had not asked Tejashwi to quit his position, but had only asked for a clarification.
"It is not possible to work in this environment. [But] I tried to found out a solution," he told reporters outside the governor's residence in Patna on Wednesday.
BJP on its way in
The BJP has been a long-time political partner of the JD-U in Bihar. In fact, the previous government had seen BJP leader Sushil Modi as deputy chief minister while Nitish was chief minister.
With the current alliance between the RJD and JD-U effectively broken, both parties would have looked to garner numbers and form government through a floor test, where they have to show they have more than half the 243 MLAs — in effect, 122 legislators — in the House on their side.
This is where the JD-U's old ties with the BJP come into play. The JD-U had won 71 seats in the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015, while the BJP-led NDA had won 58 seats. Together, that makes for 129 MLAs, which is over the halfway mark of 122.
The BJP alone has 53 seats in the Assembly, and that added to the JD-U's 71 make 124, which is again over the halfway mark.
Modi dropped hints
Even before the BJP MLAs in Bihar under Sushil Kumar Modi made a formal announcement regarding the party's support to the JD-U, tweets by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already hinted at the possibility.
Modi said in the first of his tweets: "I congratulate Nitish ji on joining the fight against corruption. All 125 crore people welcome and support this honesty."
He added: "Rising above political differences and fighting corruption together for the country, and especially the development of Bihar, is the need of the hour."
भ्रष्टाचार के ख़िलाफ़ लड़ाई में जुड़ने के लिए नीतीश कुमार जी को बहुत-बहुत बधाई।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2017
सवा सौ करोड़ नागरिक ईमानदारी का स्वागत और समर्थन कर रहे हैं
देश के, विशेष रूप से बिहार के उज्जवल भविष्य के लिए राजनीतिक मतभेदों से ऊपर उठकर भ्रष्टाचार के ख़िलाफ़ एक होकर लड़ना,आज देश और समय की माँग है— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2017