Jitan Ram Manjhi, 68, was sworn in as the 23rd chief minister of Bihar along with 17 ministers on Tuesday. Fifteen JD(U) ministers from the Nitish Kumar-led ministry and two independents supporting the government were also sworn in by governor DY Patil at the Raj Bhawan here.
The cabinet would be expanded to accommodate 35 ministers, including the chief minister over the next few weeks. Manjhi government is likely to seek a vote of confidence on May 23.
The two independent legislators -Vinay Bihari and Dulal Chandra Goswami - are first time ministers.
The choice of ministers indicated continuity and experience, while JD(U) insiders said some of the portfolios of the 15 retained ministers could be reshuffled soon.
The re-induction of all ministers of the Nitish Kumar ministry came as a surprise, as some of them had openly demonstrated dissent.
The composition showed there would be no deviations in policy from what was charted by the last ministry.
Top bureaucrats said the emphasis on development, infrastructure, empowerment of poorer classes would be the cornerstone of the new cabinet.
Kumar said he would work to strengthen the government and the party. He had earlier said he would not ask for votes in the next assembly polls if power does not reach every home by 2015.
The new government came into being following the resignation of chief minister, Nitish Kumar who owned up to the poll drubbing and amidst rumours of an internal group of legislators aiding the BJP in the forming of a new government, minus himself.
Meanwhile, two BJP legislators, Rana Gangeshwar Singh and Vijay Kumar Mishra resigned their assembly memberships on Tuesday bringing down the total legislators in the 242-member house to 236-enough for the JD-U to survive with its 117 legislators and the support of 4 congress, two independents and a CPI member.
The JD(U) has now 124 legislators in support as against the halfway mark of 118.