Nitish takes oath as Bihar CM

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 16, 2020 Published on November 16, 2020

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with Deputy Chief Ministers Renu Devi and Tarkishore Prasad during the oath-taking ceremony in Patna on Monday   -  PTI

The JD(U) leader’s fourth consecutive term may prove a tightrope walk with two Deputy CMs representing the BJP

Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar on Monday for the fourth consecutive time. But this time around, his larger ally, BJP, has fielded two of its senior leaders – Tarkishor Prasad and Renu Devi – as Deputy Chief Ministers, a sure sign of the JD(U) chief’s depleted strength. Twelve other Ministers also took the oath of office on Monday.

A significant indicator of the BJP’s shadow over Nitish Kumar’s term was the sheer numbers — seven of the 14 ministers who were sworn in were from the BJP while JD(U) had five ministers including Mangal Pandey, Amarendra Pratap Singh, Rampreet Paswan, Jivesh Mishra and Ramsurat Rai besides the two Deputy Chief Ministers Tarkishor Yadav and Renu Devi.

Additionally, the BJP was clearly coveting the Speaker’s office which had thus far been occupied by the JD(U) veteran Vijay Kumar Choudary who was inducted into the Cabinet along with Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Ashok Choudary, Mewa Lal Choudhary and Sheela Mandal of the JD(U).

Former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who was considered close to Nitish Kumar and symbolised the BJP’s junior partner status in the ruling NDA, was dropped from the Cabinet in favour of the veterans Tarkishor Prasad and Renu Devi who has served as a member of the BJP’s national executive besides being the face of the party’s social engineering project in Bihar.

Deputy CMs

Renu Devi belongs to the Noniya caste among the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) and has been a minister in Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet earlier. She has been elected from Bettiah Assembly constituency five times since 2000, only losing by just about 2,000 votes to the Congress during the Mahagathbandhan sweep in the 2015 elections. Tarkishor Prasad is an RSS veteran from Katihar.

Besides the two main parties in the ruling coalition, the smaller parties were represented in the State Cabinet by Santosh Kumar Suman, son of former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi and Mukesh Sahni of the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). Both these parties had won four seats each in the elections giving the comfortable simple majority to the NDA in the 243-member House. The JD(U) won 43 seats and the BJP 74 seats and the power equation was reflected in the Cabinet composition.

Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh represented the Centre in Patna along with the BJP chief JP Nadda, who has been solely credited for the party’s victory in Bihar by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister congratulated the newly-elected CM and assured him of all support from the Centre.

“Congratulations to Nitish Kumarji on taking oath as Bihar’s CM. I also congratulate all those who took oath as ministers in the Bihar government. The NDA family will work together for the progress of Bihar. I assure all possible support from the Centre for the welfare of Bihar,” said the PM.

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Published on November 16, 2020
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