Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday broke his silence over the growing dissent within party ranks after JD(U) legislator Bima Bharti openly revolted against her party colleague Leshi Singh over the ministerial portfolio allocations in the state.
“I’m upset only with Leshi Singh that she’s always chosen. What does the CM see in her?” asked Bharti, after threatening to resign.
“I cannot make everyone a minister every time,” Kumar shot back, adding that Bharti has already been made minister twice in the state.
Wondering if there is a hidden agenda behind her revolt, Kumar said, “This kind of behaviour isn’t done. The party will speak with her (Bharti) calmly. If she understands, fine. Or else, if she has thought of going here or there, she may consider that.”
“She (Singh) is repeatedly involved in incidents in her area; brings disrepute to the party. Why am I not heard? Is it because I am from a backward caste?” said Bharti earlier.
“If she is not removed, I will resign from the party. If my allegation against her is wrong then I will resign as an MLA,” Bharti further added.
Clearing the air on allegations levelled against Singh by Bharti, Kumar said, “She (Leshi Singh) was minister in 2013, 2014, 2019 too. There was nothing like this (allegation) against her then. This is all meaningless.”
Singh, who has been given the charge of Food and Consumer Protection ministries, is yet to react to the controversy.
Reacting to Bharti’s allegations of Kumar ignoring her when it came to a cabinet berth in the state, the Bihar CM said, “We made her a minister twice too. Even when she could not read, we taught her that, and kept her on. I am surprised at how she’s speaking. We have given her a lot of respect.”
Kumar said that he has gone public as Bharti declined to meet him on Wednesday. “She told my office that there’s no need for a meeting. That’s why I’m having to make this statement today,” said Kumar.
A total of 31 ministers took oath on Tuesday after Kumar chose to snap ties with BJP for the second time in recent years and decided to join hands with the RJD and the Congress. The maximum limit for Kumar’s state cabinet is 36, which means there is further scope for expansion of the cabinet in the state.