New Delhi: Hours after expanding the cabinet, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday (August 16, 2022) allocated portfolios and retained the all-important home department, giving him direct control over the state police. The JD(U) chief also kept with himself general administration, cabinet secretariat, election and ‘any other departments not assigned to others’. His Deputy and RJD’s Tejashwi Prasad Yadav was also given key portfolios like health, road construction, urban housing and development and rural works. Yadav’s elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav has been given environment, forestry and climate change.
Besides the CM and the deputy CM, only Vijay Kumar Chaudhary (finance, commercial tax and parliamentary affairs) and Bijendra Yadav (power and planning and development) have got more than one portfolio.
Here’s a look at new Bihar Cabinet
Earlier in the day, the two-member Bihar Cabinet comprising Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Prasad Yadav was expanded with as many as 31 members being inducted from different constituents of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ including RJD chief Lalu Pratap Yadav’s elder son Tej Pratap.
Among the ministers who took the oath during the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in the state capital Patna, 16 were from RJD, which is the largest party in the state assembly, 11 from Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), two from Congress, one from ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and one Independent.
The number of Muslims in the new Bihar cabinet is five, up from only one in the previous NDA government, which fell on August 9 after Nitish snapped ties with the saffron party and joined hands with the RJD-led alliance.
The RJD has given a significant number of seven berths to Yadavs and has also given representation to the upper castes in keeping with the wider social outreach by Tejashwi Yadav.
Tej Pratap Yadav, RJD leader and brother of Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, takes oath as a minister in the Bihar cabinet. #BiharCabinetExpansion pic.twitter.com/68zpjRUuPO
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2022
The Bihar cabinet, notably, can have up to 36 ministers, including the chief minister. Nitish, however, has kept five berths vacant for future expansion.
RJD MLAs inducted into Bihar cabinet
Tej Pratap Yadav, Alok Mehta, Surendra Prasad Yadav, Ramanand Yadav, Kumar Sarvajeet, Lalit Yadav, Samir Kumar Mahaseth, Chandrashekhar, Jitendra Kumar Rai, Anita Devi, Sudhakar Singh, Israel Mansuri, Surendra Ram, Kartikeya Singh, Shahnawaz Alam, and Shamim Ahmed were the RJD MLAs who took the oath.
JD(U) MLAs inducted into Nitish Kumar-led Bihar cabinet
The JD(U) retained most of its ministers in the previous NDA government including Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Bijendra Yadav, Shravan Kumar, and Leshi Singh. Ashok Choudhary, Sanjay Jha, Madan Sahni, Sheela Kumari, Sunil Kumar, Mohd Zama Khan, and Jayant Raj also got ministerial berths.
Bihar Congress MLAs who got ministerial berths
Bihar Congress MLAs Afaque Alam and Murari Gautam took the oath in the final round of the cabinet expansion. The two leaders have been handpicked as part of the grand old party’s strategy to back a Muslim and a Dalit.
HAM’s Santosh Suman returns as a minister
HAM’s Santosh Suman has also returned as a minister. The party, which was 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, was also sworn in today.
(With agency inputs)