In a first since victory in the Bihar Legislative Assembly elections last year, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expanded his cabinet adding 17 new ministers, nine from BJP and eight from JD(U), taking the cabinet strength to 30. There are now six vacancies in the cabinet which can have up to 36 members.
Governor Phagu Chouhan administered the oath of office at a ceremony in the Raj Bhavan. While Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Nitin Nabin, Samrat Chaudhary, Neeraj Kumar Singh "Bablu", Janak Ram, Subhash Singh, Alok Ranjan Jha and Narayan Prasad are the new ministers from the BJP, Sanjay Kumar Jha and Shravan Kumar, Madan Sahni, Lesi Singh and Sunil Kumar have joined the cabinet from the JDU.
Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, the former Union ministers under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and BJP spokesperson, was the first to take the oath and has been accorded the Industry portfolio. While JD(U) retained four of its previous ministers, BJP retained two- Mangal Pandey and Pramod Kumar from the last cabinet.
In the assembly elections held last year, the BJP won 74 seats while the JD(U) won 43. But despite the majority in numbers in the assembly and the cabinet, BJP has 16 ministers with 22 portfolios while JD(U) has 13 ministers with 21 portfolios. The important departments including Home, Education, Rural Development, Personnel etc. have remained with the JD(U).