Nitish joins hands with BJP: Bihar’s political scenario

Nitish’s new team in the saddle in Bihar

Changing equations: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, left, with his deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi, centre, and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan at the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Patna on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Ranjeet Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday inducted his new 27-member Cabinet. The team has 14 Ministers from the Janata Dal(U), 12 from the BJP and one from the Lok Jan Shakti Party.

Most of the former JD(U) Ministers, including one from the minority community and a woman, are in the new team. The two new faces from the party are Dinesh Chandra Yadav and Ramesh Rishideo. Khurshid, aka Firoz Ahmad, who was Sugar Cane Industry Minister in the previous government, is the lone representative of the minority community, while Manju Verma, former Social Welfare Minister, is the lone woman in the new Cabinet.

Among the 12 BJP Ministers sworn in are senior party leaders who had been members of the erstwhile NDA government before Mr. Kumar broke away in 2013.

The new BJP faces are Rana Randhir Singh, Braj Kishore Bind, Krishna Kumar Rishi, Vinod Narayan Jha, Binod Singh, Vijay Kumar Sinha and Suresh Kumar Sharma. Mangal Pandey could not take oath as he was away in Himachal Pradesh, having recently been appointed BJP State in-charge.

From the LJP, Pashupati Kumar Paras, younger brother of party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, found a place in the Cabinet. However, Mr. Paras is not a member of either House of the legislature.

The Union Minister and his family were present in the swearing-in ceremony. “It is the discretion of the Chief Minister to include anyone in the Cabinet … earlier, my name was decided by the party to become the Minister,” he said.

The Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), led by the former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, led by Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, did not find representation in the Cabinet.

The name of RLSP leader Sudhanshu Shekhar was deleted from the list of Ministers at the eleventh hour “for reasons not known”.

Critic sidelined

However, party sources told The Hindu that Mr. Kumar was not in favour of including anyone from the RLSP as Mr. Kushwaha, a friend-turned-foe of his, has been bitterly attacking him on every issue. Someone from the HAM(S) could be included later, said a BJP leader.

“From the NDA, 16 Ministers will be in the Cabinet ... with Sushil Kumar Modi as Deputy Chief Minister. We can still accommodate two more,” senior State BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav told presspersons.

Between the BJP and JD(U) members, the Cabinet has a fair representation across castes and regions, though there is a pr edominance of leaders from Mithilanchal and Champaran.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 10:35:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nitishs-new-team-in-the-saddle-in-bihar/article19387123.ece

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