Nitish Kumar (born 1 March 1951, Bakhtiarpur, Bihar, India) is the Chief Minister of the north Indian state of Bihar. He is the top leader of Janata Dal (United) party. His name may also be written Nitīś Kumār, following the Hindi orthography. Kumar graduated from Bihar College of Engineering, now NIT Patna with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering.
He was involved in the movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan between 1974 and 1977, and was close, among others, to Satyendra Narayan Sinha, a prominent leader of the time. He was first elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly in 1985. In 1987, he became the President of the Yuva Lok Dal. In 1989, he became the Secretary-General of the Janata Dal in Bihar. He was also elected to the 9th Lok Sabha that year. In 1989, he became the Union Minister of State for Agriculture in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh.In 1991, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha and became General Secretary of the Janata Dal at the national level and Deputy Leader of Janata Dal in Parliament.
He represented Barh parliamentary constituency (Bihar) in the Lok Sabha between 1989 and 2004. He briefly served as the Union Cabinet as Minister for Railways and MInister for Surface Transport and then as the Minister for Agriculture in 1998-99. In August 1999, he resigned following the railway accident at Gaisal in North East India. In 2000, he was made the Chief Minister of Bihar but had to resign in 7 days. Later that year, he rejoined the Union Cabinet as Minister for Agriculture. From 2001 to May 2004, he served as the Union Cabinet Minister for Railways in the NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpayee. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, he contested elections from two constituencies, Barh and Nalanda.
He was elected from Nalanda but lost from his traditional constituency, Barh. He was the leader of the Janata Dal (United) Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha. In November 2005, he led the National Democratic Alliance to a victory in the 2005 Bihar assembly elections, bringing to an end the 15-year rule of the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal in the state. He was sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar on 24 November 2005. His father was a freedom fighter and enjoyed close proximity with the great Gandhian Bihar Bibhuti Anugrah Narayan Sinha, one of the founders of modern Bihar.