Nitish Kumar today said his deputy Tejashwi Yadav will lead the ruling coalition in Bihar’s 2025 elections, virtually starting the countdown to his own term as chief minister.
“I am not the candidate for prime minister nor the candidate for chief minister. My aim is to defeat the BJP,” Nitish Kumar told a meeting of MPs belonging to Bihar’s ruling coalition .
“Tejashwi should be encouraged,” he added.
Since yesterday, Nitish Kumar has repeatedly hinted that he considers Tejashwi Yadav, a fierce critic not so long ago, as his political heir.
“We are doing a lot. And if there is something left to do in the future, then Tejashwi will continue to work and do everything. Those who want to divide us, do not try to create unrest at the request of anyone We must stick together and work together. There should be no friction,” the chief minister said on Monday at the launch of a dental school in Nalanda.
Tejashwi Yadav, who was on stage, featured twice in the speech.
“Tejashwi is here, I did everything I could to take him forward, I will take him even further. You can all see and understand everything. All our managers are working well. Listen to what I say. This is not my personal view. Whatever we do, we are following Gandhi’s path,” he said.
Many read between the lines to interpret the comments as Nitish Kumar’s way of declaring Tejashwi Yadav as his heir apparent.
Today’s comments leave no doubt.
Reacting to Mr Kumar’s enthusiastic endorsement, Tejashwi Yadav said: “For now, 2024 (national elections) is the target. Everything else will come after that.”
As opposition leader, Tejashwi Yadav was one of Nitish Kumar’s most aggressive harassers, frequently ridiculing him as a “tired and exhausted” leader who must retire. The bitterness dates back to 2017, when Nitish Kumar dropped Tejashwi Yadav as his deputy, dumped the RJD and revived his alliance with the BJP.
That changed dramatically in August, when Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP and formed a new government with the RJD and other opposition parties, making Tejashwi Yadav his deputy for the second time.
Last month, Tejashwi Yadav called himself “the luckiest person” and added a compliment to his boss.
“Who could be a luckier person than me? My mum and dad have been chief ministers and leaders of the opposition. I have been deputy chief minister twice, leader of the opposition once, and I “have the opportunity to work under the most experienced Chief Minister. Who can be luckier than me?” he said.