Nitish Kumar is all set to take oath as chief minister of Bihar -- for the fourth time -- on Sunday along with 10 ministers in his cabinet.
In an article published on NDTV.com ahead of the oath-taking, Kumar wrote, "I believe that Bihar is the state of greatest potential in the country, and the story of developed India is not possible without the story of developed Bihar. I have and will continue to work forever to make this a reality."
He also sent a positive message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I will readily work with the honourable Prime Minister and the Government of India in the interest of Bihar," he wrote in the article.
Nitish Kumar's JD(U) had parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. During the political crisis in Bihar, Kumar had accused the BJP of engineering a split in the ruling JD(U). He had also alleged that PM Modi had a role in the crisis.
Meanwhile, JD(U) allies -- RJD, Congress and CPI -- are yet to take a decision on joining the government.
Kumar held a meeting of JD(U) le gislators, besides those from the allied parties to discuss cabinet formation on Saturday afternoon.
"Initially, some ministers of the erstwhile Manjhi cabinet will be inducted into the cabinet, which will be expanded after winning the trust vote. Some old ministers are likely to be retained, while some may be dropped for new faces," a JD(U) leader said.
The party leadership is also seized with the shape of the ministry, since former minister and dalit leader Ramai Ram has already staked his claim for the post of deputy chief minister.
The party leadership also faces pressure to appoint a Muslim as deputy CM, as Jitan Ram Manjhi, before he quit, had announced to appoint two deputy CMs in case he won the trust vote.
Kumar, who faces immense pressure to appease legislators from his party and allies, can induct a maximum of 35 ministers.
While speculations are rife that the allies may join the government, the RJD and Congress are also considering whether it could face any anti-incumbency for remaining in the government for little over six months.
BPCC chief Ashok Kumar Choudhary said the Congress would take a decision on joining the government after Nitish Kumar proved his majority on the floor of the house. "We have acquainted the party high command with the latest political situation in the state and would act as per instructions received from it after the trust vote," he said.
Choudhary said Congress support to Kumar was already there, irrespective of the fact whether it joins his ministry or not.
State RJD president Ram Chandra Purve said the decision to join the government would be taken by party chief Lalu Prasad.
"Party president Lalu Prasad is the only authorised person to take such policy decisions,” Purbe said, adding “Prasad would be present at Kumar’s swearing in ceremony tomorrow”.
The lone CPI MLA Awadhesh Roy also said his party would take the decision on whether to join ministry or continue support from outside while independent member, Dulal Chand Goswami is all set to be part of the ministry.
The RJD has 24 members, Congress 5 and CPI 1. The allies and an independent stood solidly behind Kumar throughout the recent political crisis and its MLAs joined JD(U) legislators to take the total to 130. The members were present both at the Raj Bhavan and outside Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi to prove their numbers.
Security has been tightened outside Raj Bhawan for Kumar’s swearing-in ceremony at 5pm. VVIPs cars with Z plus security cover will be allowed inside the premises. Other guests invited would have to park their cars outside the Raj Bhawan.
Sources said the entire Raj Bhawan to Airport area would have heavy deployment of security personnel.
The VIPs scheduled to participate in the oath ceremony include West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Singh Yadav, former UP CM Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and former PM HD Deve Gowda. The swearing-in ceremony would take place at Raj Bhawan’s Rajendra Mandapam auditorium.