JD-U chief Nitish Kumar will be sworn as Bihar Chief Minister – his fourth consecutive term, and probably the last – later in the day on Monday (November 16) in the presence of BJP chief JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah.
He is likely to have two Deputy CMs from the BJP side, relieving Sushil Modi of the charge and paving the way for his role at the Centre. If sources are to be believed, BJP is most likely to also push for the position of Speaker of the assembly.
In the swearing-in event, apart from Nitish Kumar, at least 8 senior ministers may take oath of office along with him. The rest will be finalized later.
Senior BJP MLAs Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi were elected as the leader and deputy leader of the BJP legislature party. The two BJP leaders may get the Deputy CM’s post.
The oath taking ceremony of the new cabinet is likely to be held at around 4.30 pm this afternoon.
On Sunday (November 15), Kumar met Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan to stake his claim to form the government after the NDA emerged victorious in the Assembly polls held for the 243-member Assembly.
In a meeting held on November 15, NDA leaders had chosen Nitish as the leader of the NDA legislature party, securing his return as the chief minister of Bihar for the fourth time.
Throughout the poll campaign amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the BJP had maintained that in the event of a victory for the NDA, incumbent Nitish Kumar would be the chief minister.
Nitish’s own party, the Janata Dal (United) however, did not put up a very good show in the poll battle. In the 243-member Assembly, the JD (U) managed to win only 43 seats, while 8 seats were won by two other NDA constituents. The BJP won 74 seats helping the National Democratic Alliance secure a 125-seat majority in the assembly.
After the results were declared, the RJD, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats while the Congress won only 19 of the 70 seats it had been allotted to contest as part of the Grand Alliance.
Sources said the Nitish Kumar government will consist of 36 ministers, 15% of the 243-member assembly. After winning more seats in the election, BJP may have 60% of the ministerial berths in the Bihar government, which is 20-21 posts. JDU might end up with 11-12 ministers while VIP and HAM will also be accommodated with one berth each.
HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi, a former chief minister, has ruled himself out of joining the new ministry and is said to be lobbying for his son Santosh Suman who is a member of the legislative council.
Born on March 1, 1951 Bakhtiarpur in Nalanda, Nitish, comes from the Kurmi community, an OBC in caste-conscious Bihar. He has several achievements to his credit.
During his tenure as the chief minister of Bihar in the last 15 years, the JD-U chief has been credited with re-laying roads that had virtually ceased to exist, building of bridges, completing long-delayed infrastructure projects, appointing teachers and ensuring that doctors attended health centres.
Among the socialist stalwarts, Nitish has emerged not only as a great survivor but also as a clever politician, who has always known which way the wind blows.