|Saturday, March 11, 2000,
Nitish concedes defeat, quits
PATNA, March 10 (UNI) Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislature party leader Rabri Devi tonight staked claim to form the ministry in Bihar after the eight-day-old Nitish Kumar government bowed out of office immediately before the vote of confidence in the Assembly.
RJD leaders swung into action after Mr Nitish Kumar conceded on the floor of the House that he did not have the adequate numbers in the Assembly to claim a majority and announced his decision to resign.
The RJD leader, accompanied by party President Laloo Prasad Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mahabali Singh, met Governor Vinod Chandra Pande and produced letters of support from the Congress, CPM, BSP, Krantikari Communist Party and some Independents to substantiate her claim to form the next government.
The Governor is understood to have agreed to consider the demand of the RJD and some of its supporting parties by tomorrow after taking all relevant aspects into consideration.
Senior RJD leaders were hopeful that the party would be called now that the 23-member Congress legislature group had given a written undertaking to support the party to form the government.
This was the second time in 10 days that Mrs Rabri Devi staked her claim before the Governor to form the government.
The countdown for the imminent fall of the minority government had begun yesterday when the NDA withdrew its candidate for the Speakers post in the state Assembly and supported the RJD and CPM combine backed Congress nominee Sadanand Singh.
The Nitish Kumar government, which failed to muster the magic figure of 163 in the House, preferred to call it a day without going for the voting thus paving the way for a possible RJD-led government.
RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav said people now knew who were correct adding that the Governor had acted undemocratically by installing his puppet minority NDA government in the state.
The outgoing Chief Minister said the opportunistic approach of the Congress and Left parties was behind the fall of his government.
Conceding his governments defeat in the state Assembly, Mr Nitish Kumar said the Congress, CPI and CPI (ML), which had sought the mandate on the anti-Laloo plank, would now have to answer the people what made them change their stand.
Later, Mr Nitish Kumar tendered his resignation to the Governor. Accepting the resignation, the Governor asked him to continue till an alternative arrangement was made.
Mr Nitish Kumar said he would now concentrate on state affairs and would not go for the national-level activities.
Oppn seeks Governors
NEW DELHI, March 10 The news of Mr Nitish Kumar resigning as Chief Minister of Bihar without facing a vote of confidence brought cheer to the Opposition camp here.
The RJD leader in the Lok Sabha, Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, did not lose time in distributing sweets. He offered these to anyone who came to congratulate him in Parliament House this evening.
Having received the news on the cellular telephone minutes after Mr Nitish Kumar announced his decision to quit in Patna, Mr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh declared: Patliputra ko hilaya hai. Ab Hastinapur ki baari hai (We have shaken Patliputra now it is the turn of Hastinapur), an obvious reference to Patna and Delhi.
Congress Working Committee member Jitendra Prasada, described the Bihar developments as a victory of the secular forces and demanded the resignation of the Governor.
Janata Party President Subramaniam Swamy said the ignoble and disgraceful collapse of the Nitish Kumar government requires atonement by the Prime Minister.
The Left parties also demanded the resignation of the Bihar Governor, saying he was clearly part of a conspiracy to install an NDA government in the state.
Describing this as a big defeat for the communal forces, the CPM, which fought the Assembly elections in alliance with the RJD, said Mr Pande should quit or be recalled immediately and Mrs Rabri Devi invited to form government.
The CPI Secretary, Mr D. Raja, said Mr Nitish Kumars resignation not only proved that the Governor took a hasty, biased and undemocratic decision, but also exposed the lust for power of the BJP-led alliance.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Amar Singh said the Vajpayee government should resign forthwith if at all it is left with any morality.
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