Break-ups and alliances are not new for Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who has once again ended alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party after the Bihar opposition — Congress, RJD and Left — declared open support for him.
A look at Kumar’s allies over the years and his blow hot, blow cold equation with the BJP:
1989: In the initial years in Janata Dal, Kumar backed Lalu Prasad as leader of the opposition in Bihar Assembly in 1989.
1994: Kumar fell out with Prasad, floated the Samata Party with George Fernandes.
1996: Kumar joined hands with the BJP and was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. Then Janata Dal president Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad had a spat and the latter broke away and formed the RJD
2000: Kumar was first elected to office, however, he resigned days after he took oath. NDA and allies had 151 seats, Prasad’s RJD had 159, both falling short of the required 163 seats.
2003: The Samata Party merged with Sharad Yadav’s Janata Dal, while continuing its alliance with the BJP. The Janata Dal (United) was formed, with Kumar at the helm.
2005: Kumar’s JD(U), in alliance with the BJP, came back to power as an NDA member, ending the “Lalu era”.
2010: Kumar’s party swept back to power along with ally, the BJP, and he again became the CM.
2013: He snapped his party’s 17-year-old ties with the BJP in 2013, when Narendra Modi was anointed the BJP’s campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. After parting ways with the BJP, he won a trust vote with support from the Congress, but stepped down in 2014, owning moral responsibility for the JD(U)’s tally of two in the Lok Sabha elections.
In less than a year, Kumar was back as the chief minister, pushing out his rebel protégé Jitan Ram Manjhi with support from the RJD and the Congress.
2017: The Grand Alliance of the JD(U), Congress and RJD won the 2017 assembly polls, but collapsed in just two years, as Kumar insisted that Lalu’s son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, whose name had cropped up in a money laundering case when RJD supremo was the railway minister, “come clear" on the issue.
He broke the alliance, resigned as the chief minister as the RJD refused to budge, only to be back in the office in less than 24 hours with the BJP’s support.
2022: He joined hands with the RJD again, breaking ties with the BJP.