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Updated January 25th, 2024 at 18:07 IST

Man of many u-turns, how Nitish Kumar earned the title 'Paltu Ram'

While the million-dollar question 'Will Nitish join NDA' is yet to be answered, let's take a look at when the JD-U leader switched sides.

Digital Desk
Nitish Kumar
Nitish Kumar | Image:Republic TV
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Nitish Kumar latest news: Speculations about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's possible return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came as deja vu as the JD-U leader in the past had multiple times forged and snapped alliance with ‘elder brother’ BJP. Though Nitish's party and BJP both have dismissed reports of the JDU leader returning to NDA, political circles are abuzz with such rumours after INDI alliance leaders snubbed the Bihar CM.  

After keeping mum for six days, Nitish broke his silence over the 'Kharge for PM' call. Speaking to reporters after paying tributes on the former PM's birth anniversary, Kumar told reporters, “I felt no disappointment (maayusi)....no resentment (naaraazgi)”. The JD(U) leader maintained that having taken the initiative to bring parties opposed to the BJP, he desired nothing for himself but admitted having stressed at the meeting the need to expedite seat-sharing arrangements.  

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"At the meeting the issue (of naming a leader came up). I made it clear at the outset that I was not interested. Then another name was proposed, I said it was okay with me", said the Bihar CM alluding to the proposal by his Delhi and West Bengal counterparts, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee respectively.  

A day later, it was reported that JD-U national President Lallan Singh had submitted his resignation to Nitish three days ahead of the party meeting. Singh, however, put all the speculations to rest, saying that JD-U ek hai aur ek rahega".

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“JD(U) is united and will always be. This is just a regular meeting . I have shared a bond with Nitish Kumar for 37 years. BJP is trying to set a narrative, we are one”, asserted Singh, while speaking to Republic TV. For the unversed, reports had claimed that Lalan had told Nitish that he wanted to step down as JD(U) national president.

Will Nitish Join NDA again? 

Senior BJP leaders have clarified that there is no place for Bihar CM in the NDA fold. "Yahan ab dur-dur tak gunjaish nahin hai, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda have clarified long back that the BJP doors have been shut for him,” Times of India quoted senior BJP leader Sushil Modi as saying. He claimed that Nitish is frustrated over the way he was not even made the INDIA bloc’s convener, let aside declaring him the PM's face. 

Sushil Modi also elaborated on another reason and said, "Such rumours are aimed at preventing rebellion in the JD(U) as well."

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Echoing similar remarks, Union minister and firebrand leader Giriraj Singh said, "All doors for Nitish Kumar's return to the NDA are closed. The person who makes such derogatory remarks about women in the Assembly should step down from the post of chief minister immediately. Given his current mental condition, he is not fit to hold the post."

How Nitish Earned ‘Paltu Ram’Title 

Nitish Kumar is known for taking multiple u-turns, thus his Opponents derisively named him ‘Paltu Ram’. While the million-dollar question 'Will Nitish join NDA' is yet to be answered, let's take a look at when Nitish switched sides.  

  • 1996: Two years after forming the Samata Party with George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar made a significant political shift by aligning himself with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was made minister in Atal Bihar Vajpayee's cabinet.
  • 2003: Years after Lalu Prasad Yadav formed the RJD after his split with Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar decided to merge his Samata Party with Janata Dal. The new alliance was named Janata Dal (United).
  • 2013: He broke ranks with the NDA after a 17-year alliance following the announcement of Narendra Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
  • 2015: Kumar forged a grand alliance with RJD and Congress and returned as chief minister. 
  • 2017: Accusing the RJD of corruption and choking governance in the state, Nitish walked out of the 'Mahagathbandhan' coalition to partner with the NDA.
  • 2022: Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the BJP again and formed a new government joining hands with the RJD and returned as chief minister. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took oath as his deputy.
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Published December 28th, 2023 at 17:21 IST

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