Speculation has intensified across the media and political circles over the formation of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-led government in Bihar as well as the new ministerial cabinet formation from the ruling coalition of Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party.
After the NDA returned to power in Bihar, it is certain that JD-U’s Nitish Kumar will once again become the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth term, while many new young faces are also expected to get cabinet berth this time.
In the recent Bihar Assembly polls, the BJP won most seats in the NDA emerging as the second-largest party in the state after the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). However, BJP’s ally JD-U’s seat tally came down this time. This is the reason the BJP is likely have a greater say in the cabinet formation than the JD-U.
The BJP won 74 seats in the recent Bihar elections, 21 more than its 2015 tally, while JD-U’s numbers came down drastically from 71 in 2015 to 43 this time. Four MLAs each from the other NDA allies — Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) — also emerged victorious.
According to close NDA sources, no formula has been decided yet by the ruling coalition on the number of leaders likely to be part of the new cabinet but it is certain that many young faces would be infused in the state cabinet.
The exact number of ministers from the JD-U and the BJP is still to be disclosed. However, it is confirmed that both the VIP and HAM (S) will occupy one ministerial berth each in the new Bihar government.
Former Bihar Chief Minister and HAM (S) Chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, however, has made it clear that he is out of the race for a cabinet berth.
According to the law, a maximum of 36 ministers can be appointed to the 243-member Bihar Assembly. As per sources, priority will be given to young faces while taking care of the social and political equations.
Bihar BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has been making several rounds of New Delhi over the formation of the new NDA government and appointment of the state cabinet. Speculation is rife that Sushil Modi is likely to given the larger responsibility of appointing another name for the post of Deputy Chief Minister.
In the just concluded Bihar polls, eight sitting ministers from the JD-U lost, due to which the Nitish Kumar-led party will consider new names for ministerial berths.
As per sources, 12 ministers from the JD-U and around 18 to 20 from the BJP are likely to be unducted into the cabinet in the new Bihar government.
Meanwhile, the newly-elected MLAs from the BJP have started lobbying for ministerial positions with many party leaders making frequent visits to New Delhi.
Though the picture is still unclear, it is expected that young and dynamic political leaders from Champaran and Mithilanchal regions are likely to get cabinet berths.