As the new Bihar cabinet took oath on Tuesday, 16 August, Tejashwi Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) bagged a lion's share of ministerial berths. 16 out 31 ministers who took oath belong to the RJD, 11 to Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United), two from the Congress, and one from ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and one Independent.
Predictably, only three women ministers were inducted in the cabinet – Leshi Singh and Sheela Mandal from the JD(U), and Anita Devi from RJD.
Who are these three ministers and what do we know about them? Read on!
Leshi Singh entered active politics in the year 2000 after the murder of her husband Madhusudan Singh within the court premises of Bihar's Purnia district. A five-time MLA from the Dhamdaha constituency in Purnia, Singh was the head of the Bihar State Women's Commission.
In the previous Nitish Kumar cabinet, Singh was the Food and Consumer Protection Minister, whereas in 2014, she held the position of the Social Welfare and Disaster Management Minister of Bihar.
A class 12 graduate and entrepreneur by profession, Singh is also an accused in two murder cases.
A second-time minister, Sheela Mandal first contested and won the state assembly election in the year 2020. Interestingly, Nitish Kumar has denied a ticket to sitting MLA Gulzar Devi twice. On both these occasions, Mandal won the ticket to the state cabinet.
Mandal's uncle-in-law, Dhanik Lal Mandal, former Governor of Haryana, has been an MLA from the Phulparas seat in Madhubani district. He was also a former speaker in the Bihar Assembly and was appointed as a Minister of State in the 1977 Morarji Desai government.
Her brother-in-law Dhanik Lal Mandal, and his son, Bharat Bhushan Mandal, have both won election on RJD tickets in the past.
Anita Devi contested the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections from the Nokha seat in Bihar's Rohtas district. The 50-year-old MLA has declared assets worth Rs 1 crore and has no history of criminal cases against her.
She won the 2015 Assembly Election with a margin of over 22,000 votes.