Modi's party loses crucial Indian state of Bihar after ally switches sides

August 10, 2022

Bihar's coalition collapsed ahead of the 2024 general election

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the Quad leaders’ summit, in Tokyo, Japan on May 24. — Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party on Tuesday lost power in Bihar, the third most populous state in India, after its regional ally broke ranks to join an opposition alliance that now has the majority to form the next government.

Biharsends the fourth most number of elected lawmakers to parliament and the fall in government there is a rare setback forModi'sBharatiya JanataParty(BJP), which dominates politics in the country.

Bihar's coalition collapsed ahead of the 2024 general election, which the BJP is still expected to win for a third straight term unless disparate opposition parties are able to come together to overcomeModi'spopularity.

BiharChief Minister Nitish Kumar, from the regional Janata Dal (United)party, told reporters he resignedafterhispartycolleagues recommended exiting the BJP coalition. He accused the BJP of trying to undermine hisparty, a charge the BJP denied.

Kumar said his new alliance, with the regional Rashtriya Janata Dal as its biggest constituent, had a comfortable majority and that a new government would be formed soon.

The BJP said Kumar had betrayed it and the people of Bihar,afterhaving together won the laststateelection in 2020.

The BJP coalition won 39 out of the 40 parliamentary seats inBiharin the 2019 general election, helping Modi win one of the biggest mandates in India in decades.

"I am sure the people ofBiharwill teach Nitish Kumar a lesson," saidstateBJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal. "We will keep fighting. We will not only do well in 2024, but also win more than two-thirds of the total assembly seats in the nextstateelection in 2025."

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