Nitish Kumar takes oath as Bihar chief minister for seventh time
Nitish Kumar took oath as the 37th chief minister of Bihar on Monday at a simple ceremony in Patna’s Raj Bhavan that was attended by Union minister Amit Shah, Bharatiya Janata Party chief JP Nadda and other leaders.
Two BJP leaders, Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, were sworn in as deputy chief ministers and 14 other ministers took oath, five from the Janata Dal (United), seven from the BJP, and one each from Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).
This is Kumar’s fourth consecutive term as chief minister and comes after the National Democratic Alliance secured a narrow majority in the recently concluded state elections even though his JD(U) crashed to its worst performance in 15 years.
Kumar said based on the public’s decision, NDA once again formed the government. “We will work together and serve the people. Yes it’s a new team but every time there is a new element. We will endeavour to deliver the responsibility entrusted to us,” added the 69-year-old leader.
He was congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was widely credited with shoring up the NDA’s poll prospects in Bihar. “The NDA family will work together for the progress of Bihar. I assure all possible support from the Centre for the welfare of Bihar,” he said.
The newly formed Bihar cabinet will meet on Tuesday. A special session of the state legislative Assembly is likely to be held on November 23, news agency ANI reported. As per rules, a maximum of 36 ministers can be appointed in the 243-member Bihar assembly.
Prasad and Devi were administered oath after the chief minister and both were seated beside Kumar on the dais. They replaced Sushil Modi, who was deputy CM for 11 years and attended Monday’s ceremony. “It’s a big responsibility and I am extremely thankful to my party leaders for giving me this opportunity,” said Devi, the first woman deputy CM of Bihar.
Prasad is a four-time MLA from Katihar who became a minister for the first time. Devi, a former BJP national vice-president and four-term MLA from Bettiah, previously served as a minister of art, culture and sports from 2005 to 2009 under Kumar.
The main opposition party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), boycotted the swearing-in ceremony and said the mandate was against the NDA. But party leader Tejashwi Yadav later congratulated Kumar. “I hope that instead of the ambition of the chair, he (Kumar) will prioritise the wishes of the people,” he said.
Other prominent faces from the JD(U) inducted as ministers are former speaker, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Ashok Choudhary, Mewalal Choudhary and Sheela Kumari.
From the BJP, former health minister Mangal Pandey, former deputy speaker Amarendra Pratap Singh, Rampreet Paswan, Jivesh Kumar and Ramsurat Kumar were sworn in as ministers. Paswan and Jibesh took oath in Maithili.
The Mithilanchal region comprising Dabhanga and Madhubani, where the NDA won 17 of 20 assembly seats, got three new faces. NDA won 26 out of 37 in Mithilanchal.
Santosh Kumar Suman, son of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and Mukesh Sahani, chief of VIP, also took oath. Sahni had lost the polls but his party won four seats and was seen as having netted a chunk of backward community votes.
Kumar, on his part, sought to steer clear of the speculations around his former deputy, saying “This is the BJP’s decision. You should pose your questions to the BJP leadership”.
Four of the 14 ministers are from upper caste communities, three are Dalits and the remaining from other backward classes (OBC) and extremely backward classes (EBC).
Two ministers belong to the Yadav caste, traditionally the support base of the RJD. There are two women, Devi and Kumari, who made a successful electoral debut from Phulpharas in Madhubani district.
The NDA won 125 seats in the 243-member assembly against 110 by the opposition Grand Alliance. The RJD was the single-largest party with 75 seats, followed by BJP with 74, JD(U) with 43 and Congress with 19.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Shocked forest officials said killing of wild animals such as leopard does occur but this was the first time that they heard that its meat was consumed by humans.