31 ministers Sworn in as Nitish Kumar expands Bihar cabinet
In Bihar, 31 ministers are taking oath on Tuesday as Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet days after he was sworn in with his new deputy Tejashwi Yadav. Among the newly sworn-in ministers, 16 are from Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD. Kumar's JD(U) has 11 ministers in the new cabinet while two ministers are from the Congress. Tej Pratap Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav's brother and Lalu Yadav's elder son, was also sworn in on Tuesday as one of the ministers.
The state cabinet can have a maximum of 36 ministers. The next step now would be distribution of portfolios. Last week, Nitish Kumar had quit the ruling coalition with the BJP in a surprise move. He returned to the Mahagathbandhan, which he had left in 2017, as differences with the BJP peaked. In the 243-member assembly, the JD(U) has 43 seats in total.
The RJD - meanwhile - has almost double the number of MLAs. Amid the cabinet expansion in Bihar, the BJP is set to hold a key meeting of the state's core committee in Delhi, which would be chaired by party chief JP Nadda. Bihar is witnessing the reunion of the RJD, Congress and the JD(U) at a time when the opposition has been trying to form a front against the BJP ahead of the 2024 elections. Nitish Kumar, however, last week dismissed speculation that he was considering to run for the prime minister's post. He said, however, that he would want the opposition to work in a united fashion. Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar on Monday - in a big announcement - said the state would be witnessing creation of around 20 lakh jobs.
This would be 10 lakh more than what the RJD had promised. A war of words has broken out between the BJP and the RJD, meanwhile, where both the sides have been hurling allegations at each other. The BJP has already predicted the decline of the JD(U). The cabinet expansion comes days after fall of the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena government was followed by Eknath Shinde taking oath with the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis. There was a lapse of around 40 days between the oath taking of Shinde and Fadnavis and the Maharashtra cabinet expansion, triggering opposition reaction.
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