Bihar cabinet expansion on Tuesday; focus on representation of backward classes
Sources said the confabulations within the GA’s constituents on the new ministers and their portfolios have been almost finalised with the JD(U) expected to retain a good number of former ministers, who served in the last NDA government till recently.
The cabinet expansion of the newly formed Grand Alliance government in Bihar, scheduled for Tuesday at 11:30 am, is expected to have a larger representation of backward classes and minorities aligned with the vote base of the two major constituents of the coalition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal (JDU).
Sources said the confabulations within the GA’s constituents on the new ministers and their portfolios have been almost finalised with the JD(U) expected to retain a good number of former ministers, who served in the last NDA government till recently. On Monday evening, deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav met chief minister Nitish Kumar in connection with the cabinet expansion.
The RJD is also said to have finalised the list of ministers by giving fair representation to some of the former ministers who served in the last GA government comprising RJD-JD(U) and Congress from November 2015 to July 2017. There will be three to four first-time ministers from the RJD quota, the sources said.
The GA government was formed after JD(U)’s realignment with the RJD-led coalition on August 10. The constituents of the new edition of GA comprises JD(U), RJD, Congress, three left parties and HAM(Secular).
From the Congress, promised three berths, only two ministers are likely to be inducted, the sources added. The cabinet would have also one independent MLA as a minister and another minister from smaller ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular).
There are indications that around 25-26 ministers would be sworn in with the size of the new cabinet expected to be below 30, including Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi, who took the oath of office and secrecy on August 10.
“The cabinet size will be below 30. The rest of the vacancies would be filled up at a later date during another cabinet expansion,” a senior RJD leader said, wishing not to be quoted.
The maximum number of ministers in the state cabinet permissible as per the strength of the 243-member is 36.
The sources said the RJD brass has picked up its ministerial nominees keeping in view the party’s vote base prominently among Yadavs in the OBCs group. There are likely to be five to six ministers belonging to the Yadav community from the RJD quota. Apart from it, there are likely to be ministers from Kushwaha (another group of OBCs), EBC, scheduled caste, Muslim minorities and upper castes, too.
The RJD is expected to make at least three to four ministers from upper castes mainly from Rajput, Brahmin and Bhumihar communities, indicative of the deputy CM’s bid to project the RJD as an "AtoZ” party to portray itself as an inclusive entity and not remain confined to its traditional Muslim-Yadav combination.
List of ministerial hopefuls from RJD:
Lalit Yadav Chandrashekar
Tej Pratap Yadav
Ahktarul Islam Shaheen
Sameer Kumar Mahaseth.
JD(U)’s ministerial hopefuls:
Vijay Kumar Choudhary
Bijendra Prasad Yadav
Sanjay Kumar Jha
(Above names were ministers in the previous government).
Congress's ministerial hopefuls:
Shakeel Ahmed Khan
Mohammed Afaque Alam
Murari Prasad Gautam
Madan Mohan Jha
"I am not aware of the names of new ministers. It will be finalised by the central leadership," said Congress's Bihar in-charge Bhakta Charan Das, while talking to reporters at the party's state office.
Besides, GA insiders former minister Santosh Kumar Suman, son of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose HAM(S) is supporting the GA government, may get a berth, while another former minister and independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh is also among the hopefuls for a ministerial seat.