Patna : A day after winning the trust vote, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday expanded his Cabinet, inducting 27 ministers – 14 from his Janata Dal-United and 13 from the BJP-led NDA. Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi administered the oath to 26 new ministers at the Raj Bhawan.
All the 15 members in the Mahagathbandhan government from JDU quota have been retained by Kumar. LJP president Ramvilas Paswan’s younger brother Pashupati Paras, who is not a legislator has been made Cabinet minister, and would be nominated to legislative council.
Former chief minister Jeetanram Manjhi and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, who head HAM and RLSP respectively, were denied berth. Manjhi had submitted list of 3 candidates and Kushwentraha recommended name of Sudhanshu Shekhar, which was not accepted by BJP. They are constitutents of NDA.
There are 4 ministers from Sharad Yadav constituency, none from the constitutencies of Tejaswi and Tejpratap Yadav.
One BJP legislator, Mangal Pandey, failed to take oath as he was held up in Shimla in Himachal Pradesh due to bad weather. On the other hand, the BJP named those as ministers who are considered close to Deputy Chief Minister and party leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
Manjhi, sensing trouble from Nitish Kumar, on Friday itself said he was not keen to join the cabinet and would work to strengthen his party. Nitish Kumar has not forgotten how Manjhi had betrayed him when he was appointed Chief Minister in 2014 by him.
Manjhi had lobbied with the BJP to induct three leaders of his party into the cabinet after it was decided that Pasupati Kumar Paras from the LJP will be inducted in the cabinet. Paras is the younger brother of LJP chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Paras is not a member of the legislative assembly. He was defeated in the 2015 assembly polls. Paswan is said to have put pressure on the BJP to induct him in the cabinet.
“Manjhi reportedly told BJP leaders that if Pasupati Kumar Paras can be inducted in the cabinet despite the fact that he is not a legislator, then his party leaders should also be inducted on the same lines,” a BJP leader said. Manjhi is the lone legislator of his party.