Bihar cabinet expansion: 30 MLAs, including Tej Pratap, sworn in

Earlier today, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reached the Raj Bhavan in Patna for the swearing-in ceremony.
Congress MLA Murari Prasad Gautam, RJD MLA Mohammad Israil Mansuri and others take oath as ministers in the Bihar cabinet.
Congress MLA Murari Prasad Gautam, RJD MLA Mohammad Israil Mansuri and others take oath as ministers in the Bihar cabinet.

PATNA: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tej Pratap Yadav and four other MLAs were among the nearly 30 MLAs who were sworn in on Tuesday as ministers in Bihar's new cabinet as part of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Earlier today, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reached the Raj Bhavan in Patna for the swearing-in ceremony. Ahead of the Cabinet expansion, JDU(U) MLA Leshi Singh on Tuesday confirmed that she will be getting a post in the new cabinet.

Nearly 30 ministers inducted into the cabinet today hail from various parties that are part of Mahagathbandhan or the Grand Alliance, including the Congress. The Bihar cabinet can have up to 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister.

Some ministerial berths will be kept vacant for future cabinet expansion, sources said. Nitish Kumar had broken away from the BJP and formed a government with the RJD and other parties earlier this month.

The Chief Minister and his deputy - RJD's Tejashwi Yadav - took oath on August 10. The Bihar Grand Alliance has a combined strength of 163. Its effective strength climbed to 164 after Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh extended its support to Nitish Kumar.

The new government is likely to prove majority in the Bihar assembly on August 24.

The BJP's central leadership will hold a meeting with the party's Bihar unit leaders here on Tuesday, days after the JD(U) parted ways with it and formed a new government in the state. They are likely to deliberate upon the BJP's future course of action, and the strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, sources said, adding organisational changes may also come up for discussion.

The meeting will be chaired by BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda and the general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh will also be present. The 2020 Assembly polls in Bihar was a tight one with the National Democratic Alliance winning 125 seats, with BJP winning 74 of these, the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar 43, the Vikassheel Insaan Party 4 and Hindustan Awaam Party (Secular) 4.

This put the NDA just above the requisite 122-majority mark needed to form the government. The RJD and its allies, on the other hand, had won 110 seats. The RJD finished as the single-largest party with 75 seats, while the Congress won a mere 19 seats.

Of the 29 seats the Left parties had contested, they won in 16, with the CPI (ML-Liberation) winning 12 of them. Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM had won five seats in the Seemanchal region of the state. Four of its MLAs have switched to the RJD.

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