Sunday, September 25, 2022

Bihar Cabinet Expansion Update: 31 Bihar MLAs, including Tej Pratap, sworn in; RJD gets lion’s share of portfolios

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16 of the 31 ministers sworn in on Tuesday represented the RJD, 11 represented the JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, two represented the Congress, and one represented the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, and one represented the Independent.

Among other MLAs, Tej Pratap Yadav, brother of Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, was sworn in as a member of Bihar’s new Cabinet under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The RJD, the state’s single largest party, has received the lion’s share of cabinet vacancies, as expected. There were 16 RJD ministers, 11 JD(U) ministers, two Congress ministers, one ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) minister, and one Independent minister who took the oath.

Predictably, the RJD has granted a major number of seven places to Yadavs, including Tej Pratap, the eldest son of party president Lalu Prasad. It did, however, include representation for upper castes, in keeping with deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav’s broader social outreach, according to the news agency. Kartikeya Singh, a Bhumihar MLC, and Sudhakar Singh, a Rajput whose father Jagadanand Singh is the state president, were among those from the RJD quota.

The JD(U) is expected to retain the portfolios of Home (which it held under Nitish in the previous administration), Vigilance, Education, Building Construction, Minority Affairs, Social Welfare, and Water Resources, while the RJD is expected to gain departments such as Finance, Commercial Taxes, Health, Road Construction, Disaster Management, and Environment and Forest. The RJD-JD(U) ministry deal is expected to be similar to Nitish’s with the BJP. The Cabinet increase comes only days after Nitish re-took the oath of Chief Minister, with Tejashwi as his deputy, after leaving the BJP and rejoining the Mahagathbandhan alliance.

The new cabinet has five Muslims, up from one in the previous NDA administration, which dissolved last week when the chief minister cut relations with the BJP. The RJD has granted Tej Pratap Yadav, the oldest son of party president Lalu Prasad, a considerable number of seven positions.

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