Bihar cabinet expansion: Cabinet expansion is likely to happen in Bihar on August 16, sources close to the government said. Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Bihar’s chief minister on Wednesday, a day after quitting – ostensibly over a row with coalition partner BJP – and will now govern in alliance with his former rivals in RJD and Congress.
His deputy and RJD’s leader Tejashwi Yadav was the only other minister sworn in by Governor Phagu Chauhan, in a no-frills ceremony at Raj Bhavan as lists of ministers to be nominated by parties in the coalition and their berths were yet to be finalised.
Kumar who heads the JD(U) took oath for a record eighth time, as head of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) which it had dumped in 2015, to join hands with the BJP.
The change effected by the wily leader, has in the eyes of many analysts potentially pitted him against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, soon after the swearing in ceremony, Kumar while dismissing rumours that he may now eye the Prime Ministerial race in the next general election, asserted the Modi-led NDA government at the Centre does need to "worry" about its prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
“They should remember 2014 (when BJP stormed to power at the centre) is past. They need to worry (‘chinta karni chahiye’) about 2024,” Kumar said.
Leaders of the BJP, which is the second largest party in the assembly with 77 MLAs, were conspicuous by their absence at the swearing-in ceremony.
“We received no invitation. We would have, in any case, not liked to witness formation of a government which has been installed after betraying the people of Bihar, who voted for the NDA in the last assembly polls,” BJP leader Sushil Modi told a press conference, adding that it was “an insult to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who stuck to his promise of backing Kumar for another term, despite the JD(U)’s poor performance.”