Nitish Kumar today returned as the Chief Minister of Bihar for a record eighth time, less than 24 hours after he dumped the BJP-led NDA, again, to realign forces with the Rashtriya Janata Dal to form a government in the state. Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD, who had to step down as the Deputy CM when Nitish walked out of the Mahagthbandhan, has also returned to his post.
Governor Phagu Chauhan today administered the oath of office and secrecy to Nitish as CM of Bihar and Tejashwi as the Deputy CM. Contrary to speculation of a full-fledged Cabinet taking oath today, only Nitish and Tejashwi were sworn in. A larger Cabinet expansion is expected to be undertaken soon.
It is being speculated that as many as 19 MLAs from the RJD, 13 from the JD(U), 4 from the Congress, 1 from HAM and 1 Independent legislator could take oath as ministers in the Cabinet.
Among the names doing the rounds from the RJD as probable ministers include Tej Pratap Yadav, Alok Mehta, Ramchandra Purve, Akhtarul Islam Shaheen, Shahnawaz, Lalit Yadav, Sunil Singh, Aneeta Devi and Chandrashekhar, among others.
Those from the JD(U) tipped to be inducted as ministers include Vijay Chaudhary, Vijendra Yadav, Upendra Kushwaha, Sanjay Jha, Ashok Chaudhary, Shravan Kumar, Lacy Singh, Mohammad Zama Khan, Sheela Mandal and Sunil Kumar, among others.
Among four Congress leaders likely to take oath as ministers include Madan Mohan Jha, Shakeel Ahmed Khan, Ajit Verma and Rajesh Kumar. Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son Santosh Kumar Suman could be the lone minister from the HAM quota, while Independent legislator Sumit Singh could also get a ministerial berth in the Mahagathbandhan 2.0 government.
The JDU, RJD, HAM, Congress, CPI(M-L), CPI and an Independent collectively command a tally of 164 legislators in the Bihar Assembly. In an effective strength of 242 in the Bihar Assembly, the BJP stands at 77, the JDU has 45, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM(S) has 4, RJD has 79, Congress has 19, CPI(M-L) has 12, CPI has 4, while the AIMIM and Independent have one seat each.