PATNA: Nitish Kumar today took oath as Bihar Chief Minister along with 28 ministers, including RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s two sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap, as the grand alliance government of RJD-JD (U)-Congress was sworn in at a mega ceremony attended by several top leaders from non-BJP parties.
Besides Nitish, 12 members each from RJD and JD (U) and four from Congress were administered oath as ministers by Governor Ram Nath Kovind.
Speculation is rife that first time MLA Tejaswi, who was the second person to be sworn in after Nitish at the event held at Gandhi Maidan, will be made Deputy Chief Minister.
Nitish took oath as the chief minister for the fifth time.
Portfolios of the ministers are likely to be allocated soon.
A galaxy of leaders including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and a number of Congress Chief Ministers were present at the swearing in ceremony of the new Bihar government.
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was deputed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also present. CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja also attended the event.
Former JD (U) state President Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Shrawan Kumar and Jay Kumar Singh, all members of the outgoing cabinet also took oath besides former MP Maheshwar Hazari, Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, Santosh Nirala and Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmad.
New members in the cabinet from JD (U) Shailesh Kumar, Kumari Manju Varma, Madan Sahni and Kapildeo Kamat also took oath.
Hazari, a cousin of Ram Vilas Paswan had defeated the LJP chief’s nephew Prince Raj from Kalyanpur assembly seat. In Lok Sabha elections earlier, he had defeated Paswan’s brother Ram Chandra Paswan.
From RJD quota besides Lalu’s sons, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Abdul Gafoor, Vijay Prakash, Chandrika Rai, Alok Kumar Mehta, Ram Vichar Rai, Sheo Chander Ram, Muneshwar Chaudhary, Chandrashekhjar and Anita Devi took oath.
Anita, the lone woman minister from RJD defeated senior BJP leader Rameshwar Chourasia in Nokha assembly segment.
From Congress, party chief Ashok Choudhary, Madan Mohan Jha, Abdul Jalil Mastan and Awdesh Kumar Singh were sworn in.
RJD had won 80 seats in the Bihar poll followed by JD (U) 71 and Congress 27 totaling 178 in the 243-member Legislative Assembly.
As per constitutional provision of cabinet quota being fixed at 15 per cent of the House strength, Nitish Kumar could have a maximum of 36 members, including himself, in the ministry.–PTI