Nitish Kumar took oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the third time in a row on Friday. But the biggest highlight of the ceremony was the crowning of RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s 26-year-old son Tejashwi Yadav as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. His other son, Tej Pratap Yadav too took oath as a minister. The RJD had stormed back into the Assembly with the highest number of seats, winning 80 out of 101 seats it contested.
Nitish Kumar, along with 28 ministers, took oath at historic Gandhi Maidan in the state capital Patna. In a first of JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance government, the Nitish Kumar ministry will have 12 ministers from JD(U), 12 from RJD and 4 from the Congress party.
Congress party state chief Ashok Chaudhary, senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, along with other senior leaders of RJD and JD(U) took oath as the ministers in the state government cabinet.
Nitish 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 swearing-in ceremony was also high on the political message with several leaders, mostly from the non-BJP combine, that could indicate possible future political alignments, were present at the Gandhi Maidan.
The star-studded line of the guests included, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, along with former Prime Minister HD Devegowda, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal besides other several senior leaders across the political parties.
Chief ministers of all the Congress-ruled states viz. Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Karnataka Siddaramaiah (Karnataka), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Ibobi Singh (Manipur) and Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh) to were invited and number of them attended the programme.
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. PM Modi, however, could not attend the ceremony, deputing instead Union minister Venkaiah Naidu to attend the oath-taking ceremony.
Besides, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and D Raja of CPI, whose parties contested against the JD(U) led combine but have ideological differences with the BJP, too participated in the ceremony.
Former JD(U) state President Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Shrawan Kumar and Jay Kumar Singh, all members of the outgoing cabinet also took oath besides former MP Maheshwar Hazari, Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma, Santosh Nirala and Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmad. New members in the cabinet from JD(U)– Shailesh Kumar, Kumari Manju Varma, Madan Sahni and Kapildeo Kamat also took oath.
From RJD, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Abdul Gafoor, Vijay Prakash, Chandrika Rai, Alok Kumar Mehta, Ram Vichar Rai, Sheo Chander Ram, Muneshwar Chaudhary, Chandrashekhjar and Anita Devi took oath besides Lalu’s two sons. Anita, the lone woman minister from RJD defeated senior BJP leader Rameshwar Chourasia in Nokha assembly segment.
From Congress side, apart from its state unit chief Ashok Choudhary, Madan Mohan Jha, Abdul Jalil Mastan and Awdesh Kumar Singh were sworn in as ministers.
(With inputs from the PTI)