Days after Nitish Kumar formed the government with RJD led Grand Alliance in Bihar, in the first cabinet expansion 31 Ministers took oath on Wednesday. RJD got its 15 MLAs inducted in the cabinet while 11 JDU leaders were promoted to the ministerial ranks. Congress got the two representatives in the cabinet while one HAM MLA secured ministerial berth. Chakai Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh is also included in the government.
Contrary to expectations, JDU did not include new faces in the cabinet as it retained its ministers of the previous cabinet. Political observers are of the view that Nitish Kumar does not want to trigger any discontentment at this point of time, thus he played safe.
RJD, on the other hand, gave preference to new faces in the elevation of its MLA’s to ministerial berths. From RJD quota Shamim Ahmed, Ram Anand Yadav, Surendra Prasad Yadav, Shahnawaz Alam, Md Israil Mansoori and others got their maiden ministerial call, while previous ministers such as Tej Pratap Yadav, Alok Mehta etc. once again became ministers.
Meanwhile Congress gave representation to the social group it appeared focussing in the state. It nominated Afaque Alam, an OBC Muslim and Murari Gautam, a Dalit. However, it may trigger factionism as the Bihar unit of the party is overwhelmingly led by Upper caste leaders such as Mandan Mohan Jha, Ajit Sharma, Shakil Ahmed Khan etc.
According to reports, Congress’ Bihar Incharge Bhakta Charan Das has a major role in the nomination of the two backward caste leaders in the Nitish cabinet.