Almost a week after he snapped ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and formed a new coalition government with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and others, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inducted 31 MLAs into the state Cabinet on Tuesday, 16 August.
While Nitish Kumar retained the charge of the Home Ministry, which was reportedly a point of contention between Kumar's Janata Dal United (JD(U)) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav was appointed as the health minister, along with the portfolios of road construction, urban development, housing and rural development.
Lalu Prasad Yadav's elder son and RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav was also inducted into the Cabinet and allocated the environment, forest and climate change portfolio.
Here's a full list of ministers who were inducted into the Cabinet and the portfolios that they were assigned:
Vijay Kumar Chaudhary: Finance, Commercial Tax and Parliamentary Affairs
Bijendra Yadav: Power, Planning and Development
Ashok Choudhary: Building Construction
Shravan Kumar: Rural Development
Leshi Singh: Food and Consumer Protection
Sanjay Jha: Water Resources, Information & Public Relations
Madan Sahni: Social Welfare
Sheela Kumari: Transport
Mohd Zama Khan: Minority Affairs
Jayant Raj: Minor Water Resources
Sunil Kumar: Prohibition, Excise and Registration
Alok Mehta: Revenue and Land Reforms
Surendra Prasad Yadav: Labor Resources
Ramanand Yadav: Food & Consumer Protection
Lalit Yadav: Public Health Engineering
Kumar Saravjit: Tourism
Chandra Shekhar: Education
Samir Kumar Mahaseth: Industry
Anita Devi: Backward Classes and Extremely Backward Classes
Sudhakar Singh: Agriculture
Jitendra Kumar Rai: Art, Culture and Youth Affairs
Mohammad Israil Mansuri: Information and Technology
Kartikeya Singh: Legal Affairs
Shahnawaz Alam: Disaster Management
Shamim Ahmad: Sugar Cane Industry
Afaque Alam: Animal Husbandry & Fisheries
Murari Prasad Gautam: Panchayat Raj
Santosh Suman Manjhi: Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Welfare
Sumit Kumar Singh: Science & Technology
Demographics of the Nitish Kumar-led Cabinet
The Nitish Kumar-led Cabinet has a sizeable number of members from the Yadav community and Muslims as well. Members of other sections of society have also found a place in the newly sworn-in Cabinet.
Five Muslim ministers found a place in Kumar’s Cabinet. These ministers are Zama Khan (JD(U)), Afaque Alam (Congress), Mohd Shamim (RJD), Mohd Israil Mansuri (RJD), and Shahnawaz Alam (RJD)
While the Cabinet was expected to have a pro-OBC bias, only five Dalit legislators took oath as Cabinet ministers. Ashok Choudhary (JD(U)), Kumar Sarvajeet (RJD), Surendra Ram (RJD), Murari Gautam (Congress), and Santosh Kumar Suman (HAM) took oath on Tuesday.
A sizeable number of Yadavs also featured in the Cabinet, such as Surendra Prasad Yadav (RJD), Ramanand Yadav (RJD), Lalit Yadav(RJD), Chandrashekhar (RJD), Ramanand Yadav (RJD), Jitendra Kumar Rai (RJD), and Bijendra Yadav (JDU). Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav also belongs to the community.
The Cabinet has three female ministers – Sheela Kumari (JD(U)), Leshi Singh (JD(U)), and Anita Devi (RJD).
Other sections of society saw some representation as well, with two Bhumihar ministers, Kartikeya Singh (RJD) and Vijay Kumar Chaudhary (JD(U)); three Rajputs, Leshi Singh (JDU), Sumit Kumar Singh (Indpendent), and Sudhakar Singh (RJD); one Brahmin representative, Sanjay Kumar Jha (JD(U)).
Nitish Kumar’s close aide, Shravan Kumar, who belongs to the Kurmi caste, also took oath on Tuesday.
After the swearing-in ceremony, former deputy CM and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi was quoted by ANI as asking, "What message does Nitish Kumar want to give by keeping people like Surendra Yadav, Ramanand Yadav and Lalit Yadav in the cabinet?"
"Nitish Kumar cleverly kept both Home and finance portfolios with JD(U) and betrayed Tejashwi Yadav too," he added.
BJP Top Brass Hold Meeting in Delhi To Discuss Bihar
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda held a meeting of the party's core committee at its headquarters in Delhi on Tuesday to discuss the recent political developments in Bihar.
Party general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh was also present at the meeting.
Discussions revolved around the BJP's future course of action, its strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and possible organisational changes as well, news agency PTI reported, quoting sources.
This was the first meeting of the BJP since Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the party on 9 August.
Speaking to news agency ANI, RJD Member of Parliament Manoj Kumar Jha said, "It's not just people who will join the Cabinet, every worker and MLA of the RJD is a part of it – they may not join under their names but there will be everyone's participation. The entire Cabinet reflects Bihar's interest, you will see that."
Jha added, "This entire Mahagathbandhan, and now Nitish Kumar has come (into the alliance), so the map of 2024 has cleared up to a great extent."
The RJD, which is the largest party in the state Assembly, is likely to have a lion's share of the ministerial berths, followed by Kumar's JD(U). A few seats will reportedly be kept vacant to facilitate future expansion.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)