A galaxy of leaders will descend on Patna to witness the swearing-in ceremony of “Vikaspurush” Nitish Kumar as Bihar chief minister on Friday.
A galaxy of leaders will descend on Patna to witness the swearing-in ceremony of “Vikaspurush” Nitish Kumar as Bihar chief minister on Friday. According to sources, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s two sons are likely to get important assignments. The sources did not rule out the possibility of Mr Yadav’s younger son, Mr Tejaswi Yadav, becoming deputy chief minister of Bihar.
A total of 29 ministers are to be sworn in on Friday — 12 from the JD(U), four from the Congress and 13 from the RJD. Mr Tejaswi Yadav is mentioned second in the list to take the oath, an indication that he may be made deputy CM, while his brother Tej Pratap is likely to be made a minister. Nitish Kumar loyalist Vijay Choudhary is likely to become Speaker.
As many as 35 leaders are likely to attend the oath-taking ceremony. Besides kingmaker and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, leaders like Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former PM H.D. Deve Gowda, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Mr Mallikarjun Kharge would be reaching the state capital, Patna, on November 20.
Besides, the chief ministers of six Congress-ruled states are likely to attend — Arunachal Pradesh CM Nabam Tuki, Assam’s Tarun Gogoi, Himachal Pradesh’s Virbhadra Singh, Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah, Manipur’s O. Ibobi Singh and Sikkim’s P.K. Chamling.
The CMs of other states who have consented to attend include UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
Other top leaders who are to attend are former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, Shankar Singh Vaghela, J&K former CM Om
ar Abdullah, former Jhar-khand CM Babulal Marandi, Hemant Soren and former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The event has acquired the status of a special socio-political event as the Grand Alliance has registered a landslide victory. Prashant Kishore, who crafted the campaign, was busy analysing the results and selecting MLAS to be inducted into the ministry. According to JD(U) sources, Mr Kishore had been analysing the performance of the previous Nitish Kumar Cabinet and there are chances that Mr Kumar may not repeat some of the old faces. “Prashant Kishore has categorised the performances of several JD(U) ministers and submitted a list to Nitish Kumar for his final decision,” sources said.
RJD chief Lalu Yadav, busy short-listing MLAs from his party, has already asked Mr Kumar for 16 ministerial berths. Prashant Kishore and Mr Kumar’s aide, Mr Vijay Choudhary, met Mr Lalu Yadav on Thursday evening to discuss the list provided by him.
According to a highly placed source in the RJD, the RJD chief’s two sons are likely to get important assignments. When asked about his younger son, Mr Tejaswi Yadav, a newly-elected MLA from Raghopur constituency, they didn’t rule out the possibility of him becoming deputy CM. A senior RJD leader said, “It’s just a matter of a few hours now, you will know who is getting what portfolio. Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar are deciding everything.”
Congressmen, after meeting party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday, have also given Mr Kumar a list. The names of those to be sworn-in as ministers from the RJD and Congress are yet to be announced but sources said some Lalu Yadav loyalists may get important ministerial berths in the Nitish Cabinet.
However, a faction in the Grand Alliance said that “the ministerial berths are being allotted keeping 2019 in mind” and that Mr Kumar and Mr Lalu Yadav are focusing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
With so many political leaders to attend the ceremony, the event is also being seen as the culminating point for a possible future political alignment. JD(U) and RJD leaders, including Mr Lalu Yadav and JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav, see this as “the rise of a strong opposition” against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.
These two leaders hope to build a strong consensus among all non-BJP parties “to form an alliance keeping the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in mind”.
RJD president Lalu Yadav will in all probability launch a campaign in Parliament against the NDA government.