Even though the BJP emerged as the bigger partner in the NDA in Bihar Vidhan Sabha polls, portfolio allocation in the new Nitish Kumar government does not show much change, with the JD(U) keeping all important departments it had in Nitish’s previous term.
The Chief Minister kept Home, General Administration, Cabinet Secretariat and Vigilance with himself, while veteran JD(U) ministers Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Vijay Kumar Choudhary got two other key portfolios – Energy and Water Resources, respectively.
Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad of the BJP was given almost all departments his predecessor Sushil Kumar Modi held: Finance, Commercial Tax and Environment. Although Cabinet expansion may take place at a later stage, the JD(U) and the BJP have shared departments between them. Thus, several ministers from either party will keep additional departments until the Cabinet expansion.
As per new formula, the BJP can have a maximum 21 and JD(U) 14 ministers. The 15-minister Cabinet — seven from BJP, six from JD(U) and one one each from VIP and HAM(S) – took oath on Monday.
JD(U) not ceding much ground – yet
Portfolio allocation shows that Nitish Kumar has not conceded any major department — such as Education and Energy, apart from Home — to ally BJP. Division of departments between the two partners also shows that the BJP, despite being the bigger partner in the alliance, is also not trying to put pressure on Nitish. At least, for a while.
The state’s second Deputy CM, BJP’s Renu Devi, was given Industry, Panchayati Raj and OBC and EBC Welfare departments. JD(U) minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary will keep Rural Works, Rural Development, Parliamentary Affairs, besides Water Resources.
BJP’s Mangal Pandey has retained Health Department with additional charge of Art, Culture and Youth Affairs and Road Construction departments, while the party’s Amrendra Pratap Singh is the new Agriculture minister with additional charge of Cooperative and Sugarcane departments.
Another BJP minister, Jiwesh Kumar, was allocated Labour Resources, Tourism and Mines, while his party colleague Rampreet Paswan has Public Health Engineering department.
JD(U) veteran Bijendra Prasad Yadav has Prohibition and Excise, Planning and Development and Food and Consumer Protection besides Energy portfolios. His party colleague Ashok Kumar Choudhary retained Building Construction department with additional charge of Science and Technology, Social Welfare and Minority Welfare.
Newly inducted Mewalal got Education another first-time minister, Sheela Kumari from JD(U), is new Tourism minister.
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