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Nitish Kumar, The 7-time Bihar CM: A Look At His Journey From Engineer To 'Sushasan Babu'

"I have never claimed stake for CM post", said 69-year-old Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, after the NDA won 125 seats in 2020 state polls, ushering his 7th CM term

Nitish Kumar

"I have never claimed stake for CM post", said 69-year-old Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, after the NDA won 125 seats in the recently concluded 2020 Bihar polls, ushering in Nitish Kumar's 7th term as Bihar's Chief Minister. The JDU chief, whose party won only 43 seats - down from 71 in 2015, has also been elected as the NDA legislative leader. Nitish - known as Bihar's 'Sushasan Babu' - is set to be sworn-in as the 23rd Bihar Chief Minister on Monday, after the NDA staked claim to form the next government.

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Engineer to 'Sushasan Babu'

Nitish Kumar was born on 1 March 1951 in  Bakhtiarpur, Bihar to Ayurvedic practitioner  Kaviraj Ram Lakhan and Parmeshwari Devi. After completing mechanical engineering from NIT Patna, Nitish Kumar briefly worked in the state electricity board before joining active politics during the Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) movement. 

Nitish's peer - Lalu Yadav, who was Patna University Student Union President had joined the JP movement in 1974 winning the 1977 Lok Sabha election from Chapra at the age of 29. Being jailed for 19 months during the Emergency with several Bihar-based politicians, a new set of political leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi, and Shivanand Tiwari were born, sharing the same set of principle as their mentor JP. While Lalu Yadav quit from the Janata Party to found the RJD in 1980 amid in-fighting, Nitish Kumar went on to lead it. 

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National politics 

Nitish won his first elected to the state assembly for the first time from Harnaut in 1985. While Nitish had initially backed Lalu Prasad Yadav as the Leader of Opposition in the assembly in 1989, he switched loyalty to BJP in 1996 after winning his first Lok seat from Barh. Joining the Vajpayee government, Nitish was briefly served as the Union Minister for Railways, Minister for Surface Transport, and the Minister for Agriculture. After the Gaisal train crash (2 August 1999), he resigned as the Union Minister of Railways. 

After resigning as Bihar CM, Nitish returned to national politics - rejoining as Union Cabinet as Minister for Agriculture and was made Union Railway minister from 2001-2004. During his tenure as the Union Minister for Railways, was known for reforms including the internal ticket booking facility (2002) and Tatkal scheme for instant booking of tickets.

Nitish Kumar elected NDA legislature party leader; to take oath as Bihar's CM on Monday

Nitish's CM stints

  • 1st stint: In March 2000, Nitish was elected as CM for the first time - but lasted a bare seven days after the NDA (151 seats) and RJD (159 seats) failed to prove a majority in the 324-seat Bihar assembly. Nitish resigned from CM post. This led to Rabri Devi become Bihar's CM -lasting from 2000-2005.
  • 2nd stint: After winning the 2005 elections, Nitish was sworn in as CM for the 2nd time. During his first full tenure as CM, he flagged the initiated bicycle program - giving bicycles to girls who stayed in school to reduce school drop out rates He was also credited with the school meal programs to enhance school children's nutrition.
  • 3rd stint: Nitish along with BJP was re-elected in 2010, with the alliance winning 206 seats, while the RJD bagged 22 - ushering his third term.
  • 4th stint: After resigning as CM in 2014, in the face of huge Lok Sabha defeat, in February 2015, Nitish kumar was sworn-in as CM for the fourth time,  just nine months after he had resigned.
  • 5th stint: Breaking ties with the NDA after Narendra Modi was named Prime Ministerial candidate in 2013, Nitish buried his hatchet with Lalu Yadav and contested under the aegis of Mahagathgandhan in 2015 polls. Bucking the Modi wave across India, the Mahagathbandhan - then comprising of RJD, JDU and Congress won 178 seats - ushering Nitish Kumar's fourth term as CM. This alliance did not last for more than two years, when Nitish Kumar demanded then-deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav's resignation after he was accused of corruption. He too resigned from CM post, but soon returned.
  • 6th stint: On 27 July 2017, Nitish Kumar returned to his old ally - BJP and was sworn in as CM with BJP's Sushil Modi as his deputy CM. His latest stint has been marked with law and order, access to tap water, better roads and electricity.
  • 7th stint: Banking on his 15-year consecutive term, eyeing another term, Nitish Kumar flaunted his '7 promises', listing the various schemes and development work carried out by his government in the past tenures during the poll campaign. After NDA managed to eke out a majority winning 125 seats, compared to Mahagathbandhan's 110 seats, Kumar is now all set to take oath as Bihar chief minister for the seventh time.

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