Bihar: Possible names in Nitish Kumar-led 'Mahagathbandhan 2.0' cabinet
As Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar prepares to take oath as the Bihar chief minister for the eighth time, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav is all set to become his deputy. This comes after Kumar snapped his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday. But which party will take most berths in the "Mahagathbandhan 2.0" cabinet? Take a look.
- Coalition partners in Bihar since 2017, the JD(U) and BJP had been at loggerheads in the recent past due to a variety of issues.
- Kumar skipped several meetings with BJP recently and finally broke off the alliance to return to the RJD and other parties on Tuesday.
- To recall, Kumar abandoned the RJD and the "Mahagathbandhan" government to join hands with BJP in 2017.
Elected as the "Mahagathbandhan 2.0" (Grand Alliance 2.0) leader on Tuesday, Kumar is set to become Bihar's CM again, while 32-year-old Yadav would be the deputy CM. As the Bihar Assembly's single-largest party, RJD will likely get the lion's share of ministerial berths. The new cabinet would reportedly comprise 35 ministerial posts—RJD may get 20, JD(U) may get 11-13, and Congress may get four.
The JD(U) will reportedly retain all its existing ministers and may add former MoS Human Resources and Development Upendra Khushwaha to the list. Besides Yadav, the RJD may grant minister portfolios to Tej Pratap Yadav, Chandra Shekhar, Sunil Kumar Singh, Anita Devi, Bhai Virendra, Surendra Yadav, and Alok Kumar Mehta, among others. The RJD may also get the post of Bihar Assembly speaker.
According to Hindustan Times, Congress will not be given more than four cabinet berths. It may give the portfolios to Madan Mohan Jha, Shakeel Ahmad, Rajesh Ram, and Ajit Sharma. Additionally, the alliance may grant one post to Santosh Kumar Suman, the MLA from the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh may be retained in the cabinet as well.
While Kumar has always kept the Home Department portfolio, the RJD may take the portfolios of the Finance and Home Departments now. On Tuesday, Kumar announced their alliance has the support of seven parties—including 164 MLAs along with a few Independents. Currently, in the 242-member Bihar Assembly, the JD(U) has 45 seats, RJD 79, BJP 77, Congress 19, and the Left 16, among others.
After breaking off the alliance with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and resigning on Tuesday, Kumar returned to the Raj Bhavan a few hours later with Yadav to stake a claim for a new alliance government. The leaders said they were ready to serve the people of Bihar with the "Mahagathbandhan 2.0" government. The duo is likely to take oath on Wednesday afternoon.