Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday categorically ruled out the possibility of appointing another deputy, other than Tejashwi Yadav, ending speculations that a top leader of his JD(U) was being considered for the job.
New faces may, however, be inducted in the council of ministers from the allies RJD and the Congress, he told reporters during his visit to Madhubani as part of his 'Samadhan Yatra'.
“We are a seven-party coalition and each constituent has a fixed share. Those whose ministers vacated posts may be accommodated accordingly. We may have some more from the Congress as well,” Kumar said.
Two ministers from the RJD quota - Sudhakar Singh and Kartik Kumar resigned within a couple of months of the formation of the Grand Alliance government in August last year. Moreover, Congress, which has been given two berths, has been seeking a representation commensurate with its numerical strength in the assembly.
The Congress has 19 MLAs in the 243-strong assembly. The RJD, with 79 MLAs, is the single largest party, while the JD(U) has 45.
Without mentioning Upendra Kushwaha by name, who is the JD(U) parliamentary board chief, Kumar said “I am amused to hear this talk about having another deputy CM. This is nonsense. I was compelled to have more than one deputy CM because of pressure (from the BJP). I need not repeat that I did not even want to become the CM then”.
After the 2020 assembly poll, BJP dropped Kumar’s trusted friend Sushil Kumar Modi as the deputy CM and backed two less fancied leaders, Tarkishor Prasad and Renu Devi, for the top post.
Of late there have been furious speculations in a section of the media that Kushwaha, a former union minister who returned to the JD(U)) two years ago and merged his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, could be made a deputy chief minister to cut to size Tejashwi Yadav who is from the RJD.
Kumar has dropped ample hints that he wishes to pass on the mantle to Yadav, the son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, his rival-turned-ally. He has also been hinting that he wished to devote his energies towards uniting the opposition against the BJP ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.
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