Patna: Peeved at being allocated only one cabinet berth, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has decided to opt out of the Narendra Modi government.
“The offer made by the BJP was not acceptable to us. But we are firmly with the National Democratic Alliance. But we will not join the government,” Kumar said.
The Bihar CM ensured his presence at the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan nevertheless.
Earlier, sources had said that JD-U’s senior leader and Nitish Kumar’s close aide, RCP Singh was to become the lone cabinet minister from the party. A closed-door meeting in New Delhi consisting of the chief minister and top leaders of the JDU decided to not attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Earlier, Kumar had met BJP president Amit Shah on JD-U’s expectations of being invited to be a part of the new government.
Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh had also received a cabinet call earlier in the day.
The JD-U’s move to identify its representatives in the cabinet comes against the backdrop of the party’s strong performance in the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, in which it won 16 of the 17 seats that it contested from Bihar. The BJP and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) won all 17 seats and six seats, respectively, that they contested, giving the NDA 39 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
Singh is a former Uttar Pradesh cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and belongs to the Nalanda district of Bihar. He belongs to the same caste as Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and is considered close to him. Singh has been associated with Nitish Kumar since his stint in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and was also Kumar’s principal secretary in the state government till he joined politics.