Nitish Kumar will take oath as Bihar Chief Minister for another term on Monday as his former deputy, BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi, is unlikely to return to the new NDA Cabinet. Modi served as Nitish's deputy for major part of his tenure so far.
The swearing-in would take place between 4 and 4.30 P.M. at Raj Bhavan on Monday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda will attend the ceremony. The two leaders are reaching Patna by a chartered flight.
Two Deputy CMs
The names of Tarkishore Prasad, a Vaishya who is known to be close to Sushil Modi, and Renu Devi an Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) who was formerly the partys national vice president kept doing the rounds for the Deputy CMs post though no official confirmation came till late in the evening.
Speculations about Prasad grew stronger late in the evening as he drove to the Chief Ministers office alongside BJP national general secretary in charge of the state Bhupendra Yadav and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who was made the party's in charge for the assembly elections.
Prasad's residence in Katihar was also abuzz with murmurs of "badi zimmedari" (big responsibility) even as family members were busy lighting candles by way of celebration. Prasad himself refrained from divulging much as in reply to persistent queries from journalists he said little more than "I shall function in whatever capacity my party asks me to".
There were also speculations that Bihar might go for two Deputy CMs like in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Prasad and Renu Devi might be elevated as a step in that direction.
The proposed replacement of Sushil Kumar Modi called "Chhota Modi" in the political circles of Bihar, a jocular reference to the surname he shares with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being viewed as a precursor to the BJPs ambitious plans of aggressively expanding its own base in Bihar, where it has played second fiddle to the JD(U) boss so far.
There have also been speculations that the BJP, which has 74 MLAs against only 43 of JD(U), was likely to insist on having a greater share in the council of ministers.
BJP to get Speaker's post
The BJP is also keen on having one of its members as the Speaker, a post which has been with the Kumar's party ever since he took over a decade and a half ago. The BJP has proposed the name of former deputy speaker, Ara MLA Amrendra Pratap Singh, as the new Speaker of the Assembly. The present speaker, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, of the JD(U) will be inducted into the cabinet.
18 ministers likely to be sworn-in
Approximately 16-17 members from the BJP, JD(U), VIP and Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular will be sworn-in as ministers.
BJP is likely to get the most number of ministerial berths. On Monday, seven members each from the BJP and JD(U) members are likely to take an oath with Mukesh Sahani's VIP and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular getting one ministry each. Excluding Kumar, 18 ministers are likely to take oath on Monday.
HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi, a former Chief Minister, has ruled himself out of joining the new ministry and is said to be lobbying for his son Santosh Suman who is a member of the legislative council.
The VIP is in a peculiar position as all its four MLAs are said to be BJP cadre who fought on the fledgling outfit's symbol, while the two-year-old party's founding president Mukesh Sahni, a former Bollywood set designer, himself lost in the elections.
National Democratic Alliance claimed victory this Bihar 2020 elections, boasting 125 seats in the 243 strong Bihar Legislative Assembly with Bhartiya Janata Party and JD(U) winning 74 and 43 seats respectively.
(With PTI inputs)