Contrary to the impression he conceded too much ground to the dictates of Lalu Prasad, chief minister Nitish Kumar has held his own in his cabinet formation.
A quick reading of the manner in which ministerial berths and departments were shared among Grand Alliance (GA) constituents — the RJD, JD(U) and Congress, confirms Nitish has made significant concessions to ‘elder brother’ Lalu. Yet, there are indicators emerging from the list of ministers sworn in with him to show the fifth-time CM has stamped his authority to remain in charge of his new government.
Sample this: The CM has retained six departments, including general administration, home and information and public relations, which gives him direct control over transfers and postings, police and publicity of his government. In addition, he has vigilance through which he can crack down on corruption, cabinet secretariat and election.
Nitish has also retained departments that are critical to the roll out of the Rs 2.70 lakh crore Vision Document for his new government, which he had released as a counter to PM Rs 1.25 lakh crore package.
Similarly, electricity, to which Nitish’s vision document commits Rs 55,600 crore, has gone to JD(U)’s Bijendra Prasad Yadav.
Even the public health engineering department, which will execute the vision document agenda of spending Rs 47,700 crore, has been given to Krishnandan Prasad Verma of the JD(U). Nitish has also kept commercial taxes, social welfare rural development, SC-ST welfare, panchayati raj and industries with himself.
With these departments he can give a further leg up to his vote-winning welfare programmes.
On the flip side are his concessions to Lalu — like making his first time MLA son Tejashwi Yadav deputy CM and spreading out six departments between him and his brother Tej Pratap.