Bihar Cabinet Expansion: RJD gets lion's share of portfolios; Nitish retains Hometext_fields
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet today, with the biggest chunk of seats going to alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The new ministers were administered the oath of office by Governor Phagu Chauhan.
A total of 31 ministers were inducted into the Bihar cabinet today. The RJD got 16 ministerial berths, followed by the Janata Dal (United) which kept 11.
Two legislators from the Congress, one from Jitin Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha and the lone Independent MLA, Sumit Kumar Singh, also took oath as cabinet ministers.
Nitish Kumar retained most of the ministers from his party, including Mohd Zama Khan, Jayant Raj, Sheela Kumari, Sunil Kumar, Sanjay Jha, Madan Sahni, Shravan Kumar, Ashok Choudhary, Leshi Singh, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Bijendra Yadav.
From RJD, Tejashwi Yadav's brother Tej Pratap Yadav, Alok Mehta, Surendra Prasad Yadav and Ramanand Yadav, Kumar Sarvajeet, Lalit Yadav, Samir Kumar Mahaseth, Chandrashekhar, Jitendra Kumar Rai, Anita Devi and Sudhakar Singh, Israel Mansuri, Surendra Ram, Kartikeya Singh, Shahnawaz Alam, Shamim Ahmed took oath.
Congress legislators Afaque Alam and Murari Lal Gautam were also inducted into the cabinet as ministers, while Santosh Suman was sworn in from Hindustani Awam Morcha.
The Bihar cabinet can have up to 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Some ministerial berths were kept vacant for future cabinet expansion, sources said.
Nitish Kumar had broken away from the BJP and formed a government with the RJD and other parties earlier this month. The Chief Minister and his deputy - RJD's Tejashwi Yadav - took oath on August 10.
Sources said he felt that the BJP was attempting a repeat of the Maharashtra model - where the Uddhav Thackeray government was dismantled with the rebellion by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde who is now the Chief Minister.
The Bihar Grand Alliance has a combined strength of 163. Its effective strength climbed to 164 after Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh extended his support to Nitish Kumar.
The new government is likely to prove majority in the Bihar assembly on August 24.