Sushil Kumar Modi
Sushil Kumar Modi
PTI File Photo

The 13-year-long pair of Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar Modi was broken on Sunday evening when the Bharatiya Janata Party legislative party (consisting of MLAs and MLCs) elected a comparatively younger BJP MLA from Katihar, Tarkishore Prasad, as the replacement to Sushil Modi.

Modi himself removed his status of the deputy chief minister from his official website and Twitter account and admitted he was now a simple worker (karkyakarta) of the BJP.

"No one can deprive me of the status of karyakarta," he commented, indicating he was not happy with the decision of the party leadership. He claimed the Sangh family and the BJP had given him enough, which many others did not get.

In the presence of the two central observers of the party, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the fourth term MLA from the Seemanchal constituency of Katihar was unanimously elected as the BJP legislative party leader and Ms Renu Devi, MLA from Bettiah in West Champaran, became the deputy leader.

They would be the two deputy chief ministers, indicated Prasad as he claimed women had voted overwhelmingly to the BJP.

None of the observers went to the BJP party office as scheduled earlier. Nor did they call any newly-elected MLAs. They went to state guest house and the chief minister’s residence before returning to New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the two names of the leader and the deputy leader were announced. Party sources said that there was a section of BJP legislators who were hostile to Sushil Modi continuing as their leader and conveyed their views to BJP general secretary Bhupinder Yadav.

Sushil Modi was summoned to New Delhi by the BJP president, J.P. Nadda, on Friday evening and he returned yesterday. Modi himself had proposed the name of Tarkishore Prasad as his replacement, he claimed.

After the BJP legislative party meeting, the two observers went to the chief minister’s house, where legislators of the JDU, the VIP, and the HAM, were present. In the joint meeting, Nitish Kumar was re-elected NDA legislative party leader.

Meanwhile, the chief minister, VIP president Mukesh Sahni, HAM president Jeetan Ram Manjhi, and BJP’s Bihar unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal went to the Raj Bhawan to stake a claim for the formation of the new ministry.

Sushil Modi accompanied Rajnath Singh to the state guest house and later announced that he was now not a leader of the BJP legislators, but a common worker.

The new BJP legislative party leader, Tarkishore Prasad, is from the Vaishya (Baniya) community, an Other Backward Classes (OBC) group in Bihar. The deputy leader, Renu Devi, is from the Noniya community, an Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) group.

Meanwhile, Governor Phagu Chauhan has invited Nitish Kumar to take his oath as chief minister on Monday at 4.30 pm. After meeting the governor, Nitish said that the name of the deputy chief minister was still undecided.

It has been learnt that 35 ministers, 13 from JDU and 22 from BJP, might be sworn in. Thirteen ministers of the present Nitish Kumar cabinet will also take their oaths. They include — PWD Minister Nand Kishore Yadav, Health Minister Mangal Pandey, Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar, Ashok Kumar Chaudhury, Sanjay Kumar Jha, Neeraj Kumar from, Santosh Manjhi, and Mukesh Sahni.

Among the newly elected legislators, former DGP Sunil Kumar, elected from the Bhorey constituency, Shalini Mishra, elected from Motihari, and international shooter Shreyashi Singh, elected from Jamui, may also take their oaths.

Sources close to Sushil Modi said that in the evening, he may be sent to New Delhi for a potential Rajya Sabha seat. There is presently a vacancy in the Rajya Sabha from Bihar, following the death of Ram Vilas Paswan last month. It is expected that Sushil Modi might be inducted into the union cabinet in view of his 13 years of experience as the chairman of the council of ministers for the GST. He had also been in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha earlier as well.

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Free Press Journal