Bihar Cabinet formation: Nitish Kumar to retain home, RJD to get Speaker’s post
Patna, Aug 10: With a Mahagatbandhan government under Nitish Kumar on the cards for the second time, speculation over the portfolio allocation has started doing the rounds. Nitish Kumar is expected to retain the key home portfolio, while it is likely that the Speaker's post may go to RJD.
Reportedly, Nitish Kumar has turned down Tejashwi Yadav's demand for the home ministry.
An in-principle agreement has been reached about the composition of the new cabinet, which is likely to have "35 members or more", drawn from Kumar's JD(U), the RJD and the Congress.
According to broader contours of the power sharing formula, the RJD will have the largest number of ministers, in recognition of the fact that it has a higher number of MLAs. There is a likelihood of only Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav taking oath in the afternoon, since Governor Phagu Chauhan has pressing engagements and needs to travel, while remaining members will sworn in a cabinet expansion exercise later.
Like the last time, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad's eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav could be made a minister, but might not be given a crucial portfolio like Health, Minor Water resources, and Environment & Forest ministries, as was the case earlier.
The JD(U) is likely to have 13 ministers, the RJD has settled for 16. The Congress will be given four berths, while former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM will have one member in the cabinet.
The JD(U) is likely to reinstate as many of its ministers as possible from the previous cabinet, which was disbanded on Tuesday night vide a notification issued by the chief secretary. Kumar himself will be keeping Home, which helps him have a control over the police.
He is likely to also keep the departments related to welfare of extremely backward castes and minorities, which form his core constituency. The RJD has prepared a list of names and shared it with party supremo Lalu Prasad for approval.
While Tejashwi Yadav is certain to become the deputy CM, it is not yet decided which portfolios he will keep. The in-principle decision to hand over BJP's portfolios to RJD implies that it will get some key ones like health and road construction department
Swearing in of Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav as Chief Minister and Deputy CM respectively will take place at 2 PM in a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan today.