Nitish Kumar will be sworn in as Bihar CM once the Grand Alliance formally elects him as its leader after Diwali. It is learnt that the Alliance will stick to the 4:4:2 seat-sharing formula between RJD, JD (U) and Congress for ministry distribution.
Sources said RJD may press for the Deputy CM’s post, for which names of Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter Misa Bharati and former leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui have been doing the rounds. Though Misa is not a legislator, she could enter the Legislative Council on the seat vacated by Lalu’s personal assistant Bhola Yadav, now an MLA. There are high chances of one of Lalu Prasad’s sons — Tej Pratap who won from Mahua and Tejaswi who won from Raghopur — becoming a minister in the Nitish Kumar government.
“It is a tough call for even the RJD chief to decide who among his two sons would be a minister. There are little chances of both becoming ministers as it would send a wrong message”, said a source.
Though there are a maximum of 36 ministerial berths including the CM, 8 to 10 positions would be left vacant for expansion. JD (U) would have some fresh inclusions in the ministry as three of its former ministers, including veteran Ramai Ram, lost the election.
Congress, which bagged 27 seats in the Bihar polls, is likely to join the Nitish Kumar government, cementing the party’s ties with the JD(U). “We have given commitment to the people of Bihar about the implementation of the seven point programme. We will consider all these aspects,” Congress general secretary in charge of Bihar C P Joshi said. Sources said the party was open to the idea of joining the government.
From the Congress camp, potential ministerial candidates include Ashok Kumar Choudhary, Sadanand Singh, Awadhesh Kumar Singh, Shakil Ahmed Khan and Mohammed Javed.
A JD (U) source said the oath-taking ceremony was likely to take place in Gandhi Maidan to accommodate a large number of invitees. While there is no confirmation yet, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav is expected to attend the ceremony. Invitations for the ceremony are being sent to several CMs, including West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.
Meanwhile, Lalu’s Patna residence was swarmed on Monday by visitors eager to congratulate him on the Assembly poll victory. Prashant Kishor, JD(U)’s campaign manager for the Bihar polls, was seen talking to Lalu at the latter’s residence. Kishor refused to comment when asked about his role in grand victory. He, however, thanked the people of Bihar for the mandate.
“Kishor hit the bullseye by predicting 180 seats, just two more than the actual tally,” said a JD(U) leader. He added that Kishor had also managed Lalu’s poll campaigns after the latter approached him.
Nitish, on his part, met selective visitors including BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha.