Over 30 ministers were inducted into Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's new Cabinet on Tuesday, 16 August, echoing Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Muslim-Yadav formula, with the additional inclusion of legislators from all sections of the society.
There are altogether seven Yadav legislators who have found a place in the Cabinet – six from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), including the two sons of Lalu Prasad, and the seventh – Bijendra Yadav of the Janata Dal (United).
The Yadavs featured in the Cabinet are – Surendra Prasad Yadav (RJD), Lalit Yadav (RJD), Chandrashekhar (RJD), Ramanand Yadav (RJD), Jitendra Kumar Rai (RJD), and Bijendra Yadav (JDU), besides Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
The forming of the Mahagathbandhan government was expected to also bring together the RJD's Muslim-Yadav base, JD(U)'s support among Kurmis, MBCs and Mahadalits and the pockets of influence of Congress and CPI-ML, making it a formidable alliance.
Here's how Nitish Kumar has gone beyond the Muslim-Yadav formula.
Although a pro-OBC bias was expected in the alliance dominated by the RJD and JD(U), both owing their rise to the Mandal agitation, members of the upper castes also found a place.
Two Bhumihar ministers – Kartikeya Singh (RJD) and Vijay Kumar Chaudhary (JDU), three Rajputs – Leshi Singh (JDU), Sumit Kumar Singh (Independent), and Sudhakar Singh (RJD) and one Bhramin representative – Sanjay Kumar Jha (JDU) also featured in the Cabinet.
The CM’s close aide, Shravan Kumar, who belongs to the Kurmi caste, also took oath on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, three of the ministers are women – Sheela Kumari, Leshi Singh (both JDU), and Anita Devi (RJD).
There are five Muslims as well – Zama Khan (JDU), Mohd Afaque Alam (Congress), Mohd Shamim, Mohd Israil Mansuri, and Shahnawaz Alam from RJD.
Ministers from the Scheduled Castes (SC) include five Dalits – Ashok Choudhary (JDU), Kumar Sarvajeet, Surendra Ram (RJD), Murari Gautam (Congress), and Santosh Kumar Suman (HAM) have been included in the new Cabinet.
Meanwhile, the sizeable number of Muslims and Yadavs, apparently, led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesman Sanjay Mayukh to allege that “this is not a Cabinet headed by Nitish Kumar. It bears the imprint of Tejashwi Yadav. We will expose the inherent contradictions of this opportunistic alliance.”
Hailing the new Cabinet, Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, said:
"This is the government of poor people in Bihar. We will work together to fulfill our promises. Since the new government has been formed, there are discussions about employment and development... We have people from all castes, including backwards, minorities and Dalits."
The leaders who took oath on Tuesday include:
Mohd Zama Khan
Surendra Prasad Yadav
Samir Kumar Mahaseth
Jitendra Kumar Rai
Mohammad Israil Mansuri
Akhtarul Islam Sahin
Murari Prasad Gautam
Santosh Suman Manjhi
Sumit Kumar Singh