Nitish Kumar took oath as the Bihar chief minister for the fourth straight term on November 17, days after the NDA won the cliffhanger Bihar assembly elections by bagging 125 seats in the 243-member house.
In all, 15 NDA leaders, including the chief minister were sworn in during the ceremony attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda.
The leaders who took oath included six JD (U) leaders including Nitish Kumar and seven leaders, including the two deputy chief ministers, from the BJP. The two allies, VIP and HAM, got one ministerial berth each in the Nitish cabinet for now.
The two BJP leaders --Tarkishore Prasad, 64, four-time MLA from Katihar and Renu Devi, 68, four-time MLA from Bettiah took oath as deputy chief ministers during the function at Raj Bhawan in Patna. Among other BJP leaders who took the oath of office included Mangal Pandey, Amarendra Pratap Singh, Ram Prit Paswan, Jivesh Mishra and Ram Surat Rai.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party that emerged as the single largest party in the elections, boycotted the swearing-in ceremony saying that the mandate was not for the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United).
Apart from the CM, the JD (U) leaders who took oath on Monday included Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Ashok Kumar Choudhary and Sheela Mandal.
Mukesh Sahani, the VIP chief and Santosh Manjhi, son of former CM and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, also took oath. VIP and HAM, part of the NDA, had won four seats each in the Bihar assembly elections 2020.
Kumar’s name for the top job was approved at a meeting of the NDA held on Sunday. In all, Kumar, 69, took oath for the seventh time as chief minister of Bihar.
In the outgoing dispensation, the JD (U) had 17 and the BJP 12 ministers under Nitish Kumar cabinet. The BJP also had the deputy chief minister’s post. But the arrangement was reworked since the BJP has emerged as a senior partner in the alliance with 74 seats while the JD-U won 43.
In 2015 assembly polls, it was the other way around -- the BJP had won 53 and the JD-U had 71 seats.
The maximum number of ministers that the cabinet can have is 36 which is 15 percent of the total number of seats in the Bihar Assembly – 243, so a cabinet expansion is imminent.
Though there was no official confirmation, sources said that BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, considered close to Nitish Kumar and deputy CM for 15 years under him, might as well be sent to Delhi to be likely accommodated in the Rajya Sabha in the seat that has fallen vacant with Ram Vilas Paswan’s death.
While the NDA bagged 125 seats, the Mahagathbandhan
or the Grand Alliance got 110. The RJD, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats while the Congress won only 19 of the 70 seats it had been allotted to contest as part of the Mahagathbandhan.