PATNA: Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the eighth time, forming his alliance with RJD-led Mahagathbandhan. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took oath as his deputy in a ceremony at the governor's house in Patna.
A larger cabinet expansion is expected within a week. Sources said that RJD being the largest party in the Mahagathbandhan has demanded 19 seats in the Bihar cabinet and the list is to be finalised by party chief Lalu Yadav. Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) is speculated to get 13 seats, the Congress 4 and Jitan Ram Manjhi 1 seat.
Talking to reporters after his oath, Nitish Kumar questioned the BJP for claiming that the newly formed grand alliance would not last its full term. He said, “Staging protest and making false claims is the only work left for them. Let them say what they want but I assure you that this government will continue and work hard for the development of Bihar”.
He also threw a challenge to the BJP by saying that it needs to worry about its prospects in 2024. He also used the occasion to urge all the opposition parties in the country to unite against the BJP-led NDA.
“I have no aspirations for any post. I don’t know where I will be in 2024 but the questions which need to be asked whether the person who came in 2014 will return in 2024”, Nitish Kumar said after taking oath as Chief Minister for the eighth time.
Top leaders in JD(U) have been projecting Nitish Kumar as the opposition’s face for the 2024 general elections. Leaders in the JD(U) including Upendra Kushwaha have been saying that “no leader in the country has an image like Nitish Kumar and he can be made the PM's face in 2024”.
Nitish Kumar ended his ties with the BJP-led NDA on Tuesday and announced a grand alliance with seven political parties in Bihar. Addressing the media after his oath Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, “The party was not comfortable with the NDA and took a decision to quit the alliance”.
He also cited a “conspiracy to split the JD(U)” as one of the main reasons behind snapping ties with the BJP.
Sources said that after the oath Nitish Kumar called Lalu Yadav and briefed him about the political scenario in the state. Sources said that after the cabinet expansion Nitish Kumar may also visit New Delhi to meet Lalu Yadav and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss future strategies.
According to RJD leaders here, “people were not happy with the agenda of the BJP. Bihar will grow under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav”.