‘No Issues With BJP’: Nitish As 8 JD(U) MLAs Sworn in as Ministers

Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office & secrecy to the ministers at a ceremony held in Raj Bhavan.

3 min read
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar along with deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi during the swearing-in ceremony for the Cabinet expansion  in Patna.

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar has inducted eight JD(U) leaders as ministers in the state government, news agency ANI reported on Sunday, 2 June.

However, JD(U) allies – BJP and LJP – were not part of the Cabinet expansion.

The Cabinet expansion came two days after the JD(U) chief decided that his party won't join Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government because it was offered just one seat – a "symbolic" representation.

JD(U) leaders Ashok Choudhary, Shyam Rajak, L Prasad, Beema Bharti, Ram Sevak Singh, Sanjay Jha, Neeraj Kumar and Narendra Narayan Yadav took oath as Bihar Cabinet ministers on Sunday.

Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers at a simple ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan. Five of the eight sworn in are first-time ministers, news agency IANS reported.

There are now 33 ministers in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, up from 25.

‘No Issues with the BJP,’ Says Nitish Kumar

Reiterating that his party has no issues with the ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nitish on Sunday said, the leaders were sworn in to the state Cabinet on grounds of vacant berths under JD(U) quota.

“Vacancies from JD(U) quota in the Cabinet were empty so the JD(U) leaders were inducted. There is no issue with the BJP, everything is fine,” he told reporters after Cabinet expansion.

But some JD(U) leaders have reportedly said the Chief Minister was upset by the way the BJP had offered "symbolic representation" in the Modi government though the JD(U) won 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats it contested.

"The timing of the Cabinet expansion and induction of only JD(U) MLAs are clear signs that Nitish Kumar is unhappy with the BJP leadership," a senior JD-U leader told IANS.

Meanwhile, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi tweeted that the CM has offered the BJP to fill the vacant ministerial seat and that the saffron party has decided to fill it in future.

‘BJP Offered JD(U) Just One Seat in Council of Ministers’

On 31 May, the JD(U) chief maintained that there was no problem in the JD(U)'s alliance with the saffron party over the number of ministerial berths offered to it, but added that his party stayed out as it did not want a symbolic representation in the Modi government.

Nitish said his party's decision came after BJP President Amit Shah told them that one Cabinet berth each was allotted to the NDA allies.

"We have told the BJP that we're neither unhappy nor dissatisfied. But getting symbolic representation in the Central government would be injustice to the people of Bihar which goes for Assembly elections next year," IANS had quoted JD(U) leader KC Tyagi, as saying on Friday, 31 May.

The BJP was reportedly offering the JD(U) just one seat in the Council of Ministers and the portfolio was also not of its choice.

Known to be a tough negotiator, Nitish Kumar has often surprised political experts by swimming against the tide. He supported the Modi government's decision to demonetise the currency. After India's surgical strikes on Pakistan, he went against the Opposition, which was demanding evidence, to back Modi.

The Nitish Kumar-led party has now reportedly started fanning the demand for special status to Bihar. His coalition government has 73 JD(U) MLAs and 54 BJP MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly.

(With inputs from ANI and IANS)

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