Nitish Kumar is all set to take an oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the third time in a row on Friday. Kumar-led ‘Grand Alliance’ of JD(U)-RJD-Congress had trounced the BJP-led NDA in recently concluded assembly polls. In a bitterly contested election, which saw the two sides even knocking at the doors of the election commission, the Grand Alliance stormed back with 178 seats, reducing the BJP even further down to just 53 seats, while its NDA allies could brave only five seats.
The stage is set for the ceremony at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna that will be attended by array of personalities covering a wide political spectrum. It is yet to confirm if the minister of his cabinet too will be taking oath on Friday.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will be attending the ceremony, along with former Prime Minister HD Devegowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, J&K National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Congress leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
It is believed that several other leaders, mostly from the non-BJP stable, that could indicate possible future political alignments, will be present at the swearing in ceremony of Nitish Kumar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who did an aggressive campaign against the ‘Grand Alliance’ duo of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad during the elections, was also invited by the CM designate to attend the function. Though the Prime Minister will not be present, he has instead deputed union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Rajiv Pratap Rudy to attend the function.
RJD chief and former CM of the Bihar, Lalu Prasad, who jointly steered the JD(U)-RJD-Congress combine to a stunning victory, will be present tomorrow along as well as JD(U) President Sharad Yadav.
Meanwhile, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav and Sikkim CM PK Chamling have also been invited along with chief ministers of Congress-ruled states viz. Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Karnataka Siddaramaiah (Karnataka), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Ibobi Singh (Manipur) and Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh).
Besides, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, D Raja of CPI, whose parties contested against the JD(U) led combine and but are anti-BJP in nature, and M K Stalin of the DMK have also confirmed their participation.
A notable presence will be that of BJP ally Shiv Sena, which has accepted the invitation and decided to send two Maharashtra Ministers Ram Das Kadam and Subhash Desai to the function. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray himself was invited by Kumar but he has expressed his inability to attend the ceremony.
(With inputs from the PTI)