New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday raised questions over the distribution of ministerial berths in Bihar and said while the government formation was a welcome step, his party has got a raw deal. “Every constituent in the coalition had walked away with a good share of ministerial berths except for the Congress,” he said.
“You see RJD has 79 MLAs and has secured 17 berths, Janata Dal (United) has 46 MLAs (including Independent Sumit Kumar Singh) and has 13 ministers, including the chief minister, and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has four MLAs and one minister. Congress with 19 MLAs has only two ministers,” Azad was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Because the Congress got a raw deal, it could not adjust any minister from the upper castes, be it Brahmin, Bhoomihar or Rajput, and they are angry with the Congress. During the allocation of ministerial berths, Congress should have been aware of its due share based on its strength in the Assembly. Had that been done, we would have got four ministers and members from the upper castes could have been easily adjusted,” Azad said.
The senior Congress leader said the distribution of portfolios has been done without any logic and “it is really surprising that none from the party pressed for an equal share of berths”. Azad’s comments came a day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who recently snapped ties with the BJP and joined hands with the RJD and the Congress to form the government, expanded his council of ministers by inducting 31 ministers, including a huge contingent of 16 from key ally RJD.
Of the council of ministers, 11 are from Kumar’s JD(U), two from Congress and one from former chief minster Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM, besides Independent Sumit Kumar Singh.
Kumar and Deputy CM Yadav had been sworn in earlier on August 10. All the ministers from the JD(U), besides HAM’s Suman and Independent Singh, were members in the previous government. The Left is supporting the government from the outside.