Nitish Kumar returns as Bihar CM; BJP's Sushil Modi is deputy CM

The night after resigning as Bihar chief minister and dissolving the ministry he headed, Nitish Kumar took oath again as chief of a new government in Bihar, with support from the Bhartiya Janata Party. He also appointed BJP leader Sushil Modi as his deputy in place of Tejashwi Yadav who lost the portfolio with the dissolution of the ministry

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who stayed in the capital overnight, administered the oath of office to Nitish Kumar at 10 am in the morning. It is Nitish Kumar's sixth term as chief minister of Bihar.

Besides Modi, the new ministry will have other members of the BJP and its allies as ministers.

Reports said Kumar staked claim to form government soon after he met governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and submitted his resignation and informed him of the dissolution of the ministry.

Kumar, accompanied by senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi drove to Raj Bhavan in the afternoon to stake claim to form a new government.

Modi, who met journalists later in the evening, said a list of 132 MLAs supporting the alliance was submitted to the governor who has invited Kumar to form the government. These include 71 of JD(U), BJP 53, RLSP 2, LJP 2, HAM 1 and three Independents.

With this the JD(U)-BJP combine returns to power four years after a dramatic split. It also ends the opposition dream of 'mahagathbandhan' between JD(U), Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal - a grand alliance against the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance at the centre.

The JD(U), prodded by Kumar, had walked out of the NDA in July 2013 after Narendra Modi was nominated as head of the BJP's campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, Tejashwi Yadav along with other RJD leaders had staged a demonstration before Raj Bhavan late on Wednesday night to mark their protest against the governor's decision to invite Nitish to form the government. "RJD being the single largest party in the state should be given an opportunity to stake claim to form the government," Tejashwi had said.

The JD(U), BJP, their allies and supporting independent MLAs together account for 132 seats in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, 10 more than the magic figure of 122.

RJD has 81 MLAs and even if Congress with 27 MLAs and CPI-ML (03) decide to back Tejashwi, their number would add up to only 110.

Nitish Kumar had cited irreconcilable differences with the senior ally over corruption charges against Tejashwi as reason for his decision to resign, hours after the RJD supremo rejected outright the demand for his son's ouster.

"In the circumstances that prevail in Bihar, it became difficult to run the grand alliance government," Kumar had told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after submitting his resignation to the governor.

Kumar's resignation capped days of stand-off between his party JD(U) and the RJD, with the former insisting that Tejashwi defend himself against the allegations of corruption.

The rift followed the filing of a case by the CBI against Lalu Prasad, his wife and former chief minister Rabri devi and son Tejashwi in a land-for-hotels case.

The offence was allegedly committed when Lalu was the railway minister in the UPA government. He was allegedly instrumental in handing over the maintenance of two hotels of Indian Railways-owned PSU ICRTC to two Patna businessmen in return for a prime plot of land in the Bihar capital where his family is now constructing a shopping mall.