CM for the seventh time: A look back at Nitish Kumar’s political career

Bihar CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar

With ‘Sushashan Babu’ Nitish Kumar being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth straight consecutive term, the controversy surrounding his statement that this is his last election, which he later clarified was misunderstood seems to have been put to rest.

Kumar began his political career as a student activist at the Bihar Engineering College. He was drawn into the anti-Indira Gandhi movement led by socialist leader Jaya Prakash Narayan in 1974. In his early days, he was jailed twice – before and after the Emergency.

Like many other student leaders during his time, Nitish Kumar too entered the electoral arena on a Janata Party ticket after Emergency was lifted in the 1977 elections but lost the polls from Harnaut assembly seat in Nalanda district. He contested elections and lost again in 1980 and finally emerged victorious in 1985 when he won from Harnaut seat as a Lok Dal candidate.


1985: Elected to Bihar state assembly

1989: Backed Lalu Prasad Yadav in bagging Leader of Opposition position in the assembly

1996: Switched loyalty to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

1998 to 2004: Served in National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Handled multiple portfolios as Railways, Surface Transport and Agriculture Minister

2000: Elected as Bihar Chief Minister for the first time in March after he allied with BJP-led NDA. However he resigned before he could prove his majority in the trust vote in the assembly

2004: Contested Lok Sabha polls from two constituencies. Won from Nalanda but lost from Barh, his traditional seat

2005: Became Bihar’s Chief Minister for the second time in November with the BJP as his ally ending RJD’s 15-year rule

2010: Became Chief Minister again after JD(U) sweeps the polls along with its then ally BJP. The Nitish-BJP alliance won 206 seats, while the RJD bagged just 22

2013: Severed ties with BJP after Narendra Modi was nominated BJP’s prime ministerial candidate

2014: Resigned after his party fared poorly in 2014 general elections, winning just two seats against 20 in the previous polls

2015: Allied with RJD in February and contested assembly elections. Formed the Mahagathbandhan with the Congress as the other ally

2016 and 2017: Asked Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav to resign over corruption charges. As Tejashwi declined to step down from Cabinet, Nitish Kumar stepped down as the Chief Minister on July 26, 2017, ending the Mahagathbandhan. In a dramatic turn of events, he joined hands with NDA and came back as the CM in a span of few hours

2020: Sworn in as Chief Minister on November 16 for the fourth consecutive term

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