Set to form the next government in Bihar on November 20, Nitish Kumar Saturday said people had given them “a mandate to work and maintain the rule of law”. He also said they would not spoil ties with the Opposition but would seek their cooperation on important matters.
Earlier in the day, Grand Alliance MLAs met formally to elect Kumar as their leader. JD(U) state president Bashistha Narayan Singh passed a resolution regarding his candidature as CM. RJD leader Rabri Devi also proposed Kumar’s name, while Congress leader C P Joshi supported the proposal as a matter of formality.
Kumar also conducted a separate meeting with JD(U) legislators, attended by top Grand Alliance leaders, including Lalu Prasad, Sharad Yadav and the Congress state president. Sources said there would be 16 ministers from the RJD, 15 from the JD(U) and five from Congress in the cabinet.
Kumar, who tendered his resignation earlier in the day and was asked to continue as acting CM by Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, said after staking claim to form the next government: “I have been invited to take oath as CM on November 20. All three Grand Alliance parties would join the government. Though we have decided on the number of ministers, the maximum number is fixed by the Constitution. It would soon be known if we leave some ministerial berths vacant.”
“People have voted for our development plank. The mandate is to work for the progress of Bihar. We will fulfil our seven resolutions of development. People have given a decisive…almost a three-fourth mandate. We will try to live up to the expectations of people,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi alleged that newly elected BJP MLA Lal Babu Prasad had received death threats Friday. “Criminals seem to have got their licence renewal even before formation of the next government,” said Modi.
Speculation is rife about RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi Prasad becoming deputy CM. All three alliance partners are also vying for the post of Speaker. An RJD source said that “if Abdul Bari Siddiqui is made speaker, it will be easy for Tejashwi to get the deputy CM position”.
Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharati’s name has been also doing the rounds. “Laluji has taken time to build consensus on RJD’s legislature party leader, who would be given an important position. Though Misa is not a legislator, she can easily become one following the vacancy created by Laluji’s personal assistant and MLC Bhola Yadav, who is now an MLA”, said a source.