Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday staked claim to form the new government before Governor Ram Nath Kovind by submitting the list of 178 MLAs of the Grand Alliance comprising RJD, JD(U) and Congress, six days after the coalition clinched a landslide victory in the state assembly polls.
Nitish said the swearing-in ceremony of his new cabinet would be held on November 20 and he would take oath as 34th CM of the state at the historic Gandhi Maidan at 2 pm on the same day.
Nitish remained non-committal when asked whether the ministry would have a post of Deputy Chief Minister, saying it would become clear on the oath taking day. “Wait for some time. Everything will be clear,” he said.
Also the JD(U) strongman did not specify the number of ministers to be included in the cabinet. “All the three parties would get proper representation. There is already a maximum limit for forming a ministry,” he said, indicating that the number of ministers in the state government cannot go beyond 36 as per the number of seats in the assembly.
The chief minister emphasised that the GA government having a got a big mandate would strive to work for development of Bihar and also fulfill the aspirations of the people by continuing on the principle of “ governance with justice’.
“We worked like a team during election, we will do the same to run the government. I want to assure the GA government would work for the betterment of all sections of people. This is mandate for development and we will take it forward,” he said, adding that the GA had already framed a common minimum programme that includes the seven point vision of the JD(U).
RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav and senior leader C P Joshi of Congress had accompanied Nitish to Raj Bhawan .
The CMP has promised to take Bihar to new heights of growth and development by putting emphasis on infrastructure, education, health, power, creating employment avenues for youth and also giving 35% job reservations to women.
The chief minister also underlined that he would take the cooperation of the opposition BJP in running the government and not treat it with contempt. “ I always believe in mutual cooperation of the ruling and opposition parties in running the government,” he said.
It was a day of hectic political activity in the GA camp with RJD, JD(U) and Congress holding their respective legislature party meetings. In the RJD, suspense continued to prevail over the appointment of RJD legislature party leader as no decision was announced today despite the newly elected 80 MLAs meeting at Lalu’s residence in the afternoon.
Sources said the party is trying to create a consensus on the name of Lalu’s younger son Tejaswhi Yadav as the RJDLP leader and could make an announcement during the winter session to make it a low key affair. “ We have authorised the RJD chief to take a decision. That is all,” said a senior party MLA, insisting not much should be read on the delay in announcing the RJDLP leader. Speculations are also rife that there is some resistance from a section of MLA’s over Tejaswhi’s name, a reason why the announcement has been withheld.
On the other hand, the Congress authorised AICC president Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to decide the name of the CLP leader. The Congress MLAs also left the decision on joining the Nitish cabinet to the high command. The JD(U) also held its legislature party meeting where Nitish was unanimously elected as JD(U)LP leader.