BJP has signalled a transfer of power to the younger generation of leaders in the expansion of the Nitish Kumar-led Cabinet — likely only after January 14 with Makar Sankranti marking the end of the “inauspicious” month of Kharmas — as the party has accommodated four senior leaders in Vidhan Sabha committees.
Having sent senior leader and former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi to the Rajya Sabha and appointing senior leader Vijay Kumar Sinha as the Assembly Speaker, BJP has made party veterans and former ministers Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar, Binod Narayan Jha, Ramnarayan Mandal and Krishna Kumar Rishi the chairpersons of Vidhan Sabha committees. Of 22 recently-constituted committees, seven are headed by BJP MLAs, six by RJD legislators, five by JD(U) leaders, two by the Congress, while CPI(ML) and HAM(S) MLAs are leading one each.
Power shift may come with surprises
Spelling the end of the Sushil Modi era for the party in the state, the BJP had clearly hinted at an imminent power shift in Bihar after the Assembly elections. However, this power shift may come in at the expense of brand Nitish Kumar -- already hit by the JD(U)’s performance in the Bihar polls -- with the cabinet yet to hold a single meeting after nearly a month of Nitish taking oath as CM, amid speculation about disagreements over an equal number of berths. While BJP state president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal looks firmly in command, BJP may spring some surprises in future.
According to BJP sources, Nitish Mishra, Nitin Navin, Sanjeev Chourasia and Samrat Choudhary are among the younger crop of leaders who could get a seat in the next Cabinet expansion.
However, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said there has been no proposal from the BJP on the expansion so far.
“As senior BJP leaders are busy dealing with farmers’ protest, they could not take a call on Cabinet expansion in Bihar. There is still no clarity on the share of Cabinet berths,” a JD(U) leader said.
A BJP leader said that an equal number “formula between JD(U) and BJP may not be possible as BJP has 74 MLAs while the JD(U) has 53″.