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Bihar: New deputy CMs picks of Sushil Modi

While Tarkishore Prasad, fourth-time Katihar MLA, will be the BJP legislature party leader, Renu Devi, also a fourth-time MLA — from Betia – was made deputy leader of the legislature party.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | November 17, 2020 1:03:29 am
Renu Devi and Tarkishore Prasad take the oath Monday. (PTI)

Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi may not be Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s deputy this time, but his stamp is apparent in the new NDA government, as the two new deputy chief ministers from BJP — Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi — are seen as Sushil Modi’s choices.

While Prasad, fourth-time Katihar MLA, will be the BJP legislature party leader, Devi, also a fourth-time MLA — from Betia – was made deputy leader of the legislature party.

The elevation of the two leaders are seen as part of the BJP’s power transfer from the older generation of leaders comprising the trio of Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav and Prem Kumar — all three were ministers in the previous government — to the younger lot. The party has followed the Uttar Pradesh model of having two deputy CMs in an apparent effort to reach out to its core voter group of OBC Vaishya (Bania) and the newly cultivated constituency of EBCs.

While Prasad, who comes from RSS background, belongs to OBC Kalwar community, Renu Devi, who has also worked with Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of VHP, belongs to Nonia community, a prominent caste among EBCs besides Sahanis. Her elevation as deputy CM is also seen as reflection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on the caste-neutral women constituency, whom he referred to as “silent voters” in the Bihar elections.

Devi is the first deputy CM of Bihar from her community.

Although representing Katihar since October 2005 Vidhan Sabha elections, Prasad, who studied up to Class XII, was hardly noticed in state politics earlier. He was seldom discussed among front-line leaders and always carried the image of a committed party worker. “I am overwhelmed at the responsibility given to me. It is a matter of pride for the Seemanchal region,” he said on Monday.

Renu Devi said: “I would seek advice from my guardian and predecessor, Sushil Kumar Modi. The Prime Minister always talks about women’s empowerment. I will try to be equal to the task.”

Devi, who was earlier a minister in 2010, had lost the 2015 Assembly election. She has also studied up to Class XII and was earlier the BJP Mahila Morcha head in Bihar and was also a BJP national vice-president. She has been active in social life since 1988.

In selecting Prasad and Devi, the BJP has rung in a new era of its politics, with a blend of leaders coming with RSS background who have been working at the grassroots. Sources said the party might induct some young faces in Cabinet expansion in future.

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