When BJP turned to Arun Jaitley to come back to power in Nitish Kumar's Bihar

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When BJP turned to Arun Jaitley to come back to power in Nitish Kumar's Bihar

Months after BJP led by PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah registered a historic win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its winning race was brought to an abrupt halt in Bihar by the Lalu-Nitish mahagathbandhan. This is when BJP's troubleshooter number 1, Arun Jaitley rose to the occasion and managed to throw Lalu Prasad out of the scene and bring BJP in power.

Unhappy with the Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to cast Modi as the PM face ahead of the 2014 elections, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar had walked out of the alliance. But Arun Jaitley stayed in touch with the Bihar chief minister who has often sounded a discordant note in the BJP-led alliance.

Arun Jaitley would host dinners whenever Nitish Kumar was in Delhi even when the JD(U) chief was vocally criticising his party's decisions and PM Modi.

Several months later, at the dinner hosted by PM Modi for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee, Nitish Kumar turned out to be the only chief minister of an opposition party to attend the event.

It was at this meeting that Nitish Kumar was told about a possible coup his partner RJD was planning against the mahagathbandhan government. He was told that BJP would support him if he left RJD and Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Nitish Kumar was already in an uncomfortable alliance with Lalu's RJD. It further aggravated with Lalu's repeated interference in the government. Two of RJD ministers were reportedly seen taking instructions from Lalu.

This was the final nail in the coffin for the mahagathbandhan. Days later, Nitish Kumar voiced support for the November 8 announcement of demonetisation amid an Opposition attack. Arun Jaitley wasted no time in dialing up his friend Nitish Kumar.

In July 7, the CBI raided Lalu's residence in Patna after registering an FIR in his name in corruption cases. Insiders say Nitish was informed about this beforehand by the PMO.

In July 2017, Nitish Kumar quit the mahagathbandhan government blaming Lalu and his corruption and within weeks joined hands with the BJP.

With this, Arun Jaitley had managed to throw RJD, which had the highest number of seats in Bihar assembly, out of power and bring BJP in the government, despite having only 53 seats.