After 28 months in office, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday effected a massive cabinet reshuffle by dropping 10 ministers and inducting 19 new faces — seven from the BJP and 12 from the JD (U).
Of the 19 ministers 17 were administered the oath of cabinet ministers and two as ministers of state. The massive overhaul of the council of ministers by the chief minister appears to be a mid-term appraisal of his government’s performance after 28 months of his coming to power in November 2005. And, he acted tough by dropping ten ministers whose performance was found to be ‘far from being satisfactory’ and inducted the new faces.
The exercise after meticulous perusal on the performance of the ministers was taken up after Kumar made massive reshuffle in the state bureaucracy and police department last fortnight. “The main aim is to tone up governance during the remaining period of the NDA government. We had come to power with a promise to give good administration and pursue development work vigorously. The new term will give fillip to our development agenda,” the chief minister said after the ceremony.
There is also a political angle to the exercise. The chief minister had apparently tried to create a regional balance by inducting those who were left out in November 2005 and adhered to the policy of social engineering. The Rohtas region, which had remained un-represented, has been covered with the induction of Chhedi Paswan, a former Minister of the erstwhile Lalu Prasad government and Shree Bhagwan Singh, a strongman belonging to the Koeri community.
Although the chief minister dropped two ministers of the Muslim community — Manjar Alam and Monajir Hassan — he balanced it by inducting Shahid Ali Khan from Pupri and Jamshed Ashraf from Balia Assembly seats.