The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government on Sunday expanded its Cabinet, inducting eight ministers — all from the JD (U). The alliance partner BJP decided against filling its quota, saying it will take its share in the future.
Only two positions are now left in the 34-member Cabinet. As LJP has no MLA or MLC, it will have no representation in the ministry. Its lone MLC and minister Pashupati Kumar Paras is now Hajipur MP.
With the JD(U) not accepting the offer of “symbolic representation” at the Centre, it reportedly sought to lift the morale of its cadres by the expansion in Bihar. The Cabinet expansion looks to send across the JD(U)’s message to its cadres by maintaining social balance.
New ministers include Neeraj Kumar (upper caste Bhumihar), Sanjay Jha (upper caste Brahmin), Bima Bharti (EBC), Ashok Kumar Choudhary and Shyam Rajak (Scheduled Caste), Narendra Narayan Yadav (OBC) and Lakshmeshwar Rai (EBC Dhanuk) and Ramsevak Singh (OBC Kushwaha).
Sanjay Jha, who had missed a chance to contest Lok Sabha election, was given charge of the water resources department, Narendra Narayan Yadav was made the minor water resources minister. Neeraj Kumar will head the information and public relations department and Ashok Kumar Choudhary has been given charge of building construction department. Shyam Rajak is the new industry minister and Ramsevak Singh is social welfare minister.
Bima Bharti is sugarcane industry minister and Lakshmeshwar Rai has the disaster management portfolio.
Senior BJP leader and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said, “BJP decided to take its share of ministry in future”.
Denying any rift between the BJP and his party, a JD(U) leader said, “It was important to send across a message to our cadres with cabinet expansion. They could have felt let down by JD(U) being offered just one berth in the Union Cabinet.”