Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar has been named the next Bihar chief minister after a nail-biting election between NDA and Mahagathbandhan parties. The decision was taken during a discussion at Nitish Kumar's official residence between the leaders and MLAs of JD-U and BJP today.
BJP leader and defence minister Rajnath Singh and Bihar BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav also took part in the meeting. Sushil Modi also accompanied Rajnath Singh. In the meeting, it was also decided that Nitish Kumar will also be the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the next five years.
There is some suspense whether Sushil Kumar Modi will continue as deputy chief minister or if the saffron party will choose a new face. Names of eight-term MLAs from Gaya town Prem Kumar and that of Kameshwar Choupal, a Dalit MLC who had laid the foundation stone for the temple at Ayodhya in 1990s, are also doing the rounds.
It will be Kumar's fourth term as Bihar's chief minister. The NDA parties are now headed to Governor Phagu Chauhan's residence to propose to form the government in Bihar. Nitish Kumar could take oath as the next Bihar chief minister as early as Monday, November 16, suggest reports. Before the meeting on Sunday, he was also elected as the leader of his party by the JD-U legislatures.
Meanwhile, the Congress has said the situation is not the same as Kumar's previous tenure and that this time he will be nothing but a 'remote control' of the BJP.
"Earlier, Nitish Kumar Ji emerged as a good NDA leader in Bihar. But this time, his chances are not the same. The BJP has conspired to weaken him. Now even if he is elected as NDA's leader or Chief Minister, someone else will have the remote to control him," Tariq Anwar of Congress was quoted by ANI as saying.
It will be interesting to see who all from the four NDA constituents -- the BJP, JD(U), Hindustani Awam Morcha, and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) - form the state cabinet. The outgoing Bihar government had a total of 30 ministers, including Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi. Among them, 18 were from the JD(U) and the rest 12 from the BJP.
With the BJP emerging as the largest party in the NDA with 74 MLAs and the JD(U)'s tally going down to 43 from 71, it would be interesting to see if the saffron party, which has sacrificed the post of the chief minister in honour of its pre-poll promise, will insist on having a larger share in the cabinet. A total of 24 ministers from the previous cabinet had contested the polls and 10 of them, both from both the JD(U) and the BJP, lost.
In the 243-member Assembly, RJD won 75 seats, while BJP emerged victorious on 74 seats. JD-U's tally came down to 43. Other NDA allies, HAM(S) and the VIP, won eight seats. RJD partners, Congress and Left parties, won 19 and 16 seats, respectively.
Wit PTI inputs