Nitish Kumar took oath on Friday as the Bihar chief minister along with 28 ministers, including RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s two sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap, as the grand alliance government of RJD-JD(U)-Congress was sworn in at a ceremony attended by several top leaders from non-BJP parties.
Besides Nitish, 12 members each from the RJD and JD(U) and four from the Congress were administered oath as ministers by governor Ram Nath Kovind.
Reports suggested that first-time MLA Tejashwi, who was the second person to be sworn in after Nitish at the event held at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, will be made the deputy chief minister. Nitish took oath as the chief minister for the fifth time.
Twenty-eight ministers -- 12 each from the JD(U) and RJD and four from the Congress -- figure in list of ministers.
Kumar was administered the oath of office by governor Ram Nath Kovind during a ceremony at the Gandhi Maidan in the capital city of Patna as more than 2,000 security personnel kept a watch at the venue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had accepted the invitation from Kumar, could not attend the function due to prior engagements. Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu represented the Union government at the ceremony.
The PM had congratulated Kumar on the day of the poll results on November 8 over the grand alliance’s massive victory in the Bihar elections.
An unprecedented security cover was put in place in Patna for the swearing-in ceremony of Kumar, who will head the first JD-U-RJD-Congress coalition to rule Bihar.
An estimated two lakh people, mostly workers, supporters and leaders of the grand alliance parties Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress thronged at the historic Gandhi Maidan to witness the event.
Many leaders with Z plus and Z cover security were attending the oath-taking ceremony.
Former JD(U) state president Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Shrawan Kumar and Jay Kumar Singh, all members of the outgoing cabinet also took oath besides former MP Maheshwar Hazari, Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, Santosh Nirala and Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmad.
New members in the cabinet from JD(U)-- Shailesh Kumar, Kumari Manju Varma, Madan Sahni and Kapildeo Kamat -- also took oath.
Hazari, a cousin of Ram Vilas Paswan had defeated the LJP chief’s nephew Prince Raj from Kalyanpur assembly seat. In Lok Sabha elections earlier, he had defeated Paswan’s brother Ram Chandra Paswan.
From the RJD quota, besides Lalu’s sons, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Abdul Gafoor, Vijay Prakash, Chandrika Rai, Alok Kumar Mehta, Ram Vichar Rai, Sheo Chander Ram, Muneshwar Chaudhary, Chandrashekhjar and Anita Devi took oath.
From the Congress, state chief Ashok Choudhary, Madan Mohan Jha, Abdul Jalil Mastan and Awdesh Kumar Singh were sworn in.
The Grand Alliance of Nitish Kumar swept 178 of the 243 Bihar assembly seats, leaving 53 to the BJP and five to its three allies in an election outcome that Lalu Prasad said would have major political repercussion.
The RJD is the single largest party in the house with 80 seats followed by the JD-U (71) and the Congress (27 seats). There will be 16 RJD ministers, 15 from the JD-U and five from the Congress in the government. Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejaswi Yadav is expected to get a plum post.
The chief minister’s office said that a high tea would be held for the VVIPs at the official residence of the chief minister after the oath-taking ceremony. Kumar himself has supervised the preparation for the tea party at his residence, CMO officials said.
(With agency inputs)