Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will keep the Home department while his two deputies from the BJP — four-time Katihar MLA Tarkishore Prasad and four-time Bettiah MLA Renu Devi — have been given the charge of finance, urban development and panchayati raj, backward cast upliftment and industry portfolios respectively. Besides Home, Kumar has also kept the general administration and vigilance portfolio.
Kumar, who took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the seventh time, announced the portfolios in the first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, with BJP ministers getting plum posts. The BJP won 74 of Bihar’s 243 seats, while Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) was restricted to 43 seats, down from 71 in 2015. The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar has fourteen other ministers — seven from the BJP, five from the JD(U) and one each from the HAM and VIP.
Commercial taxes, environment and forest, information technology, disaster management departments will also be handled by Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad, who belongs to the OBC.
Former assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary of JD(U) has got the portfolios of rural engineering, rural development, water resources, parliamentary affairs and information and public relations. JD(U) leader Mewalal Choudhary will be the new education minister and Sheela Kumari the transport minister. JD(U)’s Bijendra Yadav was allocated energy, planning and food and consumer affairs portfolios.
BJP’s Mangal Pandey will return as Health minister and will also head the art and culture department. Agriculture, cooperatives and sugar cane will be handled by BJP’s Amrendra Pratap Singh while Scheduled Caste MLA from Rajnagar in Mithilanchal belt Rampreet Paswan will be the new public health engineering minister.
VIP chief Mukesh Sahani, who lost by a narrow margin from Simri Bakhtiyarpur, will be in charge of animal husbandry and fishery department. As promised by the BJP earlier, he will be sent to the Upper House in the state. Santosh Kumar Suman, son of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, got the minor irrigation and scheduled caste/scheduled tribe welfare portfolios.
Meanwhile, in its first meeting, the new cabinet headed by Nitish Kumar gave its nod to a five-day session of the bicameral Bihar legislature from November 23 to November 27.