Reinstated Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet on Saturday with the inclusion of 27 new ministers from the Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The oath taking ceremony of the new ministers in the state government was held at the Raj Bhawan in Patna. The ceremony was attended by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. According to provisions available under the constitution, the capacity of the cabinet can be expanded to include 37 ministers in the 243-member House.
JD(U)’s Vijendra Prasad Yadav took the first oath, after which Prem Kumar of BJP was sworn in. Kumar was the Leader of Opposition during the Grand Alliance regime.
Others from JD(U) who took oath included Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, Shrawan Kumar, Jay Kumar Singh, Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, Maheshwar Hazari and Shailesh Kumar.
Among the ministers chosen from the BJP are Nand Kishore Yadav, Manju Verma, Ram Narayan Mandal, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Pramod Kumar, Brij Kishor Bind and Vinod Narayan Jha.
Adding to the BJP’s strength in the Bihar cabinet will be Suresh Kumar Sharma and Vijay Kumar Sinha. JD(U)’s Santosh Kumar Nirala, Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmad and Madan Sahni were sworn in and Rana Randhir Singh, Vinod Kumar Singh, Krishna Kumar Rishi from BJP took oath as well.
The JD(U) included 14 MLAs in the cabinet while the BJP introduced 12. Ramvilas Paswan’s brother Pashupati Kumar Paras, from the LJP, also took oath.
Kapil Dev Kamat and Dinesh Chandra Yadav of JD(U) and Ramesh Rishidev from BJP were also sworn in.
JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar stood victorious in a floor test in the Bihar Assembly on Thursday, gaining 131 votes against 108. He was sworn in as the CM with Sushil Kumar Modi as the Deputy CM on July 27 at the Raj Bhavan.
The CM has kept the Home Ministry for himself, while Sushil Modi has been given the charge of Finance and Commerce. JD(U)’s Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma has been given the Education profile while BJP’s Manju Verma was entrusted with the Social Welfare Ministry.
He broke off the Grand Alliance between his party, Congress and the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after an illegal land holdings scam surfaced against the latter and some members of his family, including Deputy chief minister and Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav. Nitish resigned on Thursday evening from his post and in a late night development, took oath as chief minister again, with Sushil Modi as his deputy.
Among NDA allies absent from the ceremony were RLSP and the HAM. The ceremony was attended by state Assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary as well. Mandal Pandey, BJP’s Himachal Pradesh in-charge, was unable to make it to the ceremony.
(With inputs from ANI & PTI)