Nitish Kumar oath-taking ceremony at the historic Gandhi Maidan is all set to be gargantuan and considering the sensitive nature of the occasion, unprecedented security cover has been put in place in Bihar capital Patna. Nitish Kumar will head the first Janata Dal (United)-Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress coalition to rule Bihar. Here are top 10 things to know about the event:
1. A staggering 200,000 people, including eight chief ministers and a galaxy of national leaders ranged against the BJP, will attend on Friday the swearing-in ceremony of Nitish Kumar as Bihar’s chief minister.
2. With PM Narendra Modi declining to attend, workers, supporters and leaders of the Grand Alliance parties Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress are expected throng the event, police said. Nitish Kumar personally telephoned and invited Modi to the swearing-in ceremony but the prime minister expressed his inability to attend because of his previous engagements, officials said.
3. Many leaders having Z plus and Z cover security are attending the oath-taking ceremony, including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
4. Besides the elite security agencies like Special Protection Group (SPG), personnel of central para-military security forces and state police have been deployed.
5. 20 watchtowers have been set up and 40 CCTV cameras installed in and around the venue.
6. Two huge canopy shaped stages (70×40 feet) are ready for top leaders. “Only Chief Minister designate Nitish Kumar, his new cabinet colleagues and VVIPs would be accommodated on the main dais.”
7. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which badly lost the Bihar assembly polls, would be represented by party leaders and central ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu and Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
8. The ceremony will be attended by nine chief ministers, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and leaders of several other political parties. The chief ministers are Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), P.K. Chamling (Sikkim), O. Ibobi Singh (Manipur), Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh), Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), and S. Siddaramaiah (Karnataka). Other political veterans expected to join in include CPI-M general secreatry Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, Indian National Lok Dal’s Abhay Chautala, DMK’s M.K. Stalin and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.
9. Lalu Prasad and JD-U president Sharad Yadav will be the main guests at the event.
10. Nitish Kumar had invited BJP veteran L.K. Advani and estranged BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha to the event.
(With IANS inputs)