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Above: Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi administering the oath to JD(U) National President Nitish Kumar as Bihar Chief Minister at Raj Bhawan in Patna on Thursday. Photo: UNI

Even as Nitish Kumar leaves the Mahagathbandhan, realigns with the BJP and gets sworn in again as the Bihar Chief Minister, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said on Thursday (July 27) that he will move the Supreme Court. “I’ll go to the Supreme Court and appeal that as the single largest party, the RJD should have been invited first to form a government,” Yadav said.

The swearing in was done by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, (who has Bihar as an additional charge with West Bengal) in a great hurry, virtually mirroring the Goa elections  a few  months back when Manohar Parrikar was sworn in as chief minister by Governor Mridula  Sinha, despite the Congress having more MLAs. The largest party was not invited first to try and form government, as is the democratic tradition.

While Lalu said Nitish had “backstabbed” the people of Bihar, Nitish had said that it was becoming impossible for him to operate under the current circumstances. BJP’s main man in Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, was the one behind this complicated, yet fast, manoeuvre.

Nitish will have to prove his strength on the floor of the assembly on July 28 (Friday) and, as is the practice in India, these are hard horse-trading times. Lalu may be shouting hoarse and calling Nitish a backstabber, but he is probably not too sure himself if all Yadavs will stay with him in the fight on Friday as money starts talking.

The prickly point over which the shaky alignment broke was Lalu’s son Tejaswi Yadav’s refusing to give up the deputy chief minister post and getting his father’s assurance on the same. A CBI case of benami property has been invoked against him and Nitish wanted him out of the ministry.

While Lalu and Nitish will be fighting it out on Friday, the biggest loser in the game of thrones will surely be the Congress. It was this Mahagathbandhan and Rahul Gandhi’s insistence in this that brought the Congress back onto the dais from back of beyond, even as a junior member in the alliance. The Punjab victory came later, but this was said to be the starting point. Now that is gone.

Lalu has already lined up lawyers in Delhi, but going by the way things have shaped up in the recent past, that is a long shot.

India Legal Bureau

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