8 Ministers resign in view of expansion of Nitish Cabinet in Bihar

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Patna, Apr 13 (UNI) Eight Ministers in the NDA government in Bihar resigned today ahead of the much-awaited Cabinet expansion this evening.

The eight Ministers who put in their papers were Rural Development Minister Baidyanath Mahto, Transport Minister Ajit Kumar, Building Construction Minister Monazir Hassan, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Suchitra Sinha, Social Welfare Minister Rameshwar Paswan, Minor Irrigation Minister Vishwamohan Kumar, PRD Minister Arjun Rai and Minority Welfare Minister Manzar Alam, Principal Secretary to the Governor S K Negi told UNI here.

Sources close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said here a new list of the Ministers to be accomodated in the Cabinet was being prepared, which would be sent to the Raj Bhavan for perusal of Governor R S Gavai.

Mr Kumar is likely to call on the Governor to discuss the issue.

The sources said besides the expansion, some of the Cabinet colleagues of Mr Kumar would be dropped from the Ministry while some of their portfolios would be changed. ''The exercise is being done on the basis of their performances,'' they added.

They informed that nine more Ministers were being accomodated, among whom, five would be from the BJP and four from the JD(U).

Those likely to get Ministerial berths from the BJP are Giriraj Singh, Ramnarayan Mandal, Renu Devi, Awdhesh Prasad and Vyasdev Prasad while from the JD(U) the faces are Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Damodar Raut, Renu Devi, Harinarayan Mandal and Jamshed Ashraf.

The sources said the Ministers likely to be dropped from the Cabinet are Food and Civil Supplies Minister Suchitra Sinha, Transport Minister Ajit Kumar and Social Welfare Minister Rameshwar Paswan.

Meanwhile, the Minsiters from the JD(U) fold handed over their resignations to the Chief Minister while those from the BJP quota submitted their papers to Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

Presently, there are 27 Ministers in Bihar, including 17 of Cabinet ranks and 10 with Independent charges. As per the norms, the state can have 36 Ministers. Of the 44 departments, 12 major departments are with the BJP while the JD(U) has kept 18 portfolios and the Chief Minister holds the rest.

The sources said this would the first major Cabinet expansion in the two-and-a-half-year tenure of the Nitish Kumar government.

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