Socialist at heart and a politician of few words, Nitish Kumar is one of the honest faces in Indian politics. He is considered as one of the best chief ministers in India, transforming a state -notorious for failing law and order situations and caste wars- through successful governance. Nithish Kumar is a man of intelligence, integrity and commitment. His decision to resign as the railway minister in 1999, taking the moral responsibility of a train accident that occurred in Gaisal which killed 200 people, became a gesticulation, long forgotten in Indian politics. Also regarded as one of the best railway ministers India has got, he was instrumental in bringing many ideas, which later became milestones in the history of Indian railways.
Nitish Kumar was born in Bakhtiarpur in Bihar to a freedom fighter, Kaviraj Ram Lakhan Singh and Parameshwari Devi on March 1, 1951. His father was a close associate of Gandhian Bihar Vibhoothi, Anugrah Narayan Sinha who is known as the founder of Modern Bihar. Nithish Kumar graduated from Bihar College of Engineering (now, NIT Patna) in Electrical engineering. He was part of the Jayaprakash Narayan's movement between 1974 and 1977 and was a close associate of Satyendra Narayan Sinha who is the prominent leader of the time. In 1985, he was elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly as an independent candidate. In 1987, he became the president of the Yuva Lok Dal. In 1989, he was elected as the secretary general of the Janata Dal party in Bihar. In the same year, he was elected to the 9th Lok Sabha.
In 1989, Nitish Kumar was elected as the Union Minister of State for Agriculture in Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh's cabinet. In 1991, he was elected to the Lok Sabha again and became the General Secretary of Janata Dal at the national level and was honoured to be the deputy leader of the party in the Parliament. He had a brief tenure as the Union Cabinet Minister for Railways and Minister for Surface Transport and also as the minister for Agriculture from 1998 - 1999. He had to resign following the Gaisal train tragedy in August 1999.
On March 3, 2000, he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Bihar. However, it lasted only for seven days as he could not prove the majority. Later that year, he joined the Union Cabinet as Minister of Agriculture. From 2001 to 2004, he served as the Minister for Railways in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry. In the Lok Sabha elections that were held in 2004, Nitish Kumar contested from Nalanda and Barh. He was elected from Nalanda, but lost from Barh. In November 2005, he created history by leading the National Democratic Alliance to victory in the Bihar Assembly elections thus ending the fifteen year old rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav's Janatha Dal. On November 24, he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar. In 2010, Nitish Kumar swept back to power with four - fifth majority and became the Chief Minister of Bihar for the second consecutive time.
Nitish Kumar's tenure as railway minister witnessed the implementation of innovative ideas such as the introduction of railway internet ticket booking facility and the opening of plenty of railway booking counters. He came about with the innovative 'tatkal scheme' of booking and is considered to be the actual brain behind the success of the otherwise bankrupt Indian railways. He made the railways a profit making department and it was his ideas and policies which were implemented by his successor, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav.
As the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nithish Kumar implemented plenty of policies to improve the infrastructure and lifestyle of the people in the otherwise economically back ward state. Under his governance, Bihar received an electronic version of the Right to Information Act. His government also launched E-shakthi NREGS program which helped rural people to get information about jobs through the telephone. His government did a crackdown of over 54, 000 criminals and gangsters who had strong links towards politics, thus reducing crimes. He set up a fast track court that witnessed a record number of criminal prosecutions in the state. The government also initiated a compulsory meeting on weekly basis with district magistrates to keep a track of the progress at the grass root level. Another prominent step taken by the government was to provide employment opportunities in police service and teaching. Nitish Kumar appointed one lakh school teachers to reform the devastated educational system. Bihar also recorded quite a lot of construction work exceeding even the national average. Nitish Kumar's government provided bicycles to girls, which saw a huge increase in the number of girls receiving school education and reduced the number of school drop-outs. For the first time ever in the history of India, women and backward castes were given 50% reservation in electoral. The government launched health schemes to improve the condition of hospitals in villages and provided free medicine distribution system. By improving national banks, loan schemes were provided for farmers. As a result of Nithish Kumar's hard work and commitment, Bihar recorded a steep rise in GSTP growth, this being the second highest in the country. The state also became the highest tax paying state in eastern India. For another feather in Nitish Kumar's cap, 2010 elections saw a high turnout of women and young voters.
Nitish Kumar's left behind a great legacy in the way he changed the perception of the so-called economically backward state of Bihar. He showed how charismatic and good governance can bring about a huge transformation in a what was a neglected state.
Indian of the Year by NDTV, 2010
India's Person of the Year by Forbes, 2010
Indian of the Year Award by CNN-IBN, 2010
Indian of the Year by NDTV, 2009
Business Reformer of the Year by Economic Times, 2009
Polio Eradication Championship Award by Rotary Internationals, 2009
Indian of the Year by CNN-IBN, 2008
The Best Chief Minister by CNN-IBN and HT State of the Nation Poll 2007
1951: Born in Bakhtiarpur in Bihar.
1974 -1977 - Participated in Jayaprakash Narayan's movement.
1985 - Elected to Bihar Legislative Assembly as an independent candidate.
1987 - Became the President of the Yuva Lok Dal.
1989 - Elected as the Secretary General of the Janata Dal party in Bihar.
1989 - Elected to the 9th Lok Sabha.
1989 - Elected as the Union Minister of State for Agriculture in Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh's cabinet.
1991 - Became the General Secretary of Janata Dal at the national level.
1998 -1999 - Served as Union Cabinet Minister for Railways and Minister for Surface Transport.
1999 - Resigned following the Gaisal train tragedy in north eastern India.
2000 - Appointed as the Chief Minister of Bihar, lasted for only 7 days.
2001 - 2004 - Served as the Minister of Railways in the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
2005 - Sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar ending the fifteen year old rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav's Janatha Dal.
2010 - Sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the second consecutive term.