Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Prasad Yadav will today (August 16, 2022) expand their two-member cabinet in which about 30 members are likely to be inducted from different constituents of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. The state cabinet can have up to 36 ministers, including the chief minister. Nitish, however, is expected to keep a few berths vacant for future expansion.
According to reports, an in-principle agreement has been reached that Tejashwi’s RJD, which is currently the largest party in the state assembly, will have a lion’s share of ministerial berths, followed by Kumar’s JD(U).
The swearing-in ceremony will reportedly take place around 11.30 AM at the Raj Bhavan in Patna and among the invitees could be RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Bihar cabinet expansion
The RJD may allot a number of berths to those from the Yadav caste, who form its core base. However, the induction of Tej Pratap Yadav, the elder son of Lalu Prasad, is highly doubtful. National general secretary Alok Mehta and MLA Sudhakar Singh, whose father Jagadanand Singh is currently the state president, are also likely to bag ministerial posts.
The JD(U), on the other hand, is expected to retain most of its ministers in the previous NDA government including Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Ashok Choudhary, Bijendra Yadav, Shravan Kumar, and Leshi Singh.
Congress’ state in-charge Bhakt Charan Das had recently said that the party is tipped to get three ministerial berths, two of which will be filled on Tuesday. As per reports, Afaque Alam and Murari Gautam have been handpicked as part of the party’s strategy to back a Muslim and a Dalit.
In addition, Hindustani Awam Morcha’s Santosh Suman is also likely to return as a minister. The party, founded by his father and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manhi, has four MLAs and it had quit the NDA expressing solidarity with Nitish Kumar.
The lone Independent Sumit Kumar Singh, whose late father Narendra Singh was an old associate of the chief minister, had been made a minister in the previous government and he is also likely to be sworn in today.
BJP core committee in Bihar to meet in Delhi today
Meanwhile, a meeting of the BJP core committee in Bihar is likely to take place in the presence of its national president JP Nadda in New Delhi today. The proposed meeting has been reportedly convened to discuss a number of issues that have been thrown up by the political upheaval in the state.
Nadda may also brief the party leaders on the strategy to be adopted henceforth by the BJP in the state where it has been abruptly stripped of power and finds itself pitted against a newly-formed but potentially formidable ‘Mahagathbandhan’.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had last week announced his exit from NDA, accusing BJP of trying to split his JD(U). His resignation was followed by the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ comprising JD(U), RJD, Congress, and the Left announcing their support to Kumar and his staking claim to form a new government.
(With agency inputs)