Nitish Kumar has resigned as Chief Minister of Bihar, ending the two-year-long political experiment that was branded as a game-changing Maha-gathbandhan or Grand Alliance which included his party, Lalu Yadav and the Congress.
This evening, he met with Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to deliver his resignation.
His resignation came after Lalu Yadav reiterated earlier today that his son, Tejashwi, would not quit as No 2 in the government despite being caught in a corruption scandal. "I did not ask for anyone's resignation," said Nitish Kumar, "but I told Tejashwi and Lalu that they must explain the charges publicly. The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work," he said, adding "my conscience told me to quit."
Before his sudden resignation, Nitish Kumar met with law-makers from his party, the Janata Dal United or JDU, and told them that he would return from the Governor's home to inform them of what lies ahead. A new political arrangement, most likely.
The BJP's top leaders are meeting now in Delhi to decide on whether they will back him. The Bihar branch had said weeks ago that it is willing to lend external support to keep Nitish Kumar in office without participating in his government.
Here's what was said from both sides earlier today indicating the confrontation was past the point of rescue.
"I have known Nitish for 40 years, he is no saint," said Shivanand Tiwari, a senior member of Lalu Yadav's party. "We can't compromise on Nitish's clean image," said KC Tyagi, a senior leader from the Chief Minister's party.
The Congress' top bosses, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, attempted mediation with both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav, but were unable to broker a compromise.