Nitish Kumar is all set to take oath as the Bihar chief minister for the fourth straight term on November 16, days after NDA won the cliffhanger Bihar assembly elections by bagging 125 seats in the 243-member house.
Kumar’s name for the top job was approved at a meeting of NDA held on Sunday. In all, Kumar, 69 will be taking oath seventh time as Chief Minister of Bihar. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony that begins at 4:30 pm.
Though the CM post is confirmed, all eyes will, however, be on the composition of the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
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 will be reworked, according to the sources, since the BJP has emerged as 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.
Sources said that the new Bihar government will have two deputy chief ministers, both form the BJP, with one of them a woman. Tarkishore Prasad, 64, four-time MLA from Katihar and Renu Devi, 68, three-time MLA from Bettiah could be made deputy chief ministers in the new government, they said.
Though there was no official confirmation, sources said that BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi will not continue as deputy CM, a post that he held for 15 years under Nitish Kumar.
Sushil Modi dropped ‘deputy CM’ from his Twitter bio on Sunday evening. “Karyakarta ka padd toh koi cheen nahin sakta (No one can take away my position as a party worker, at least),” he tweeted in Hindi
Sources said Sushil Modi might be sent to Delhi and might be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha in the seat that has fallen vacant with Ram Vilas Paswan’s death.
At least 15 ministers including the chief minister are likely to be sworn in today, sources said. These will include six ministers including Nitish Kumar as chief minister from the JD (U) and seven ministers, including the two deputy chief ministers, from the BJP. The two allies, VIP and HAM ,are expected to get one ministerial berth each, according to the sources
The maximum number of ministers that the cabinet can have is 36 which is 15% of the total number of seats in the Bihar Assembly - 243.
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