PATNA: The Bihar Cabinet expansion will take place on Tuesday and chances are high that alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal is likely to get a large number of seats. Janata Dal (United) and Congress are also expected to get a fair share of seats.
The ceremony will be held around 11:30 am at the Raj Bhavan in Patna. The newly formed "Mahagathbandhan" government will be expanded nearly a week after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke the BJP-led alliance and formed a new government in alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress.
A series of meetings were held among the Mahagathbandhan partners before the cabinet expansion. The Bihar cabinet can have a maximum of 36 ministers.
Meanwhile, the new Nitish Kumar led-Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar will go for a floor test on August 24 to prove its majority in the state assembly. The session was initially under question as Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha refused to quit and prompted the ruling alliance to move a no-confidence motion against Sinha.
In an effective strength of 242 in the Bihar Assembly, the BJP stands at 77, the JDU has 45, Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM(S) has 4, RJD has 79, Congress has 19, CPI(M-L) has 12, CPI has 4, while the AIMIM and Independent have one seat each. The JDU-RJD-HAM-Congress-CPI(M-L)-CPI grand alliance has a combined strength of 163.
The lone Independent MLA has also vowed support to Nitish Kumar, taking its effective strength to 164. Nitish Kumar was sworn Chief Minister for a record eighth time on Wednesday after he resigned from the post a day earlier and quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took oath as Deputy Chief Minister.
The decision to hold the floor test on August 24 and make a suitable recommendation for convening state assembly was taken at a cabinet meeting attended by Kumar and Yadav on Wednesday. Sources said that expansion of the cabinet is likely to take place on August 16 and RJD will have more ministers than the Janata Dal-United.
Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance has the support of 164 members in the assembly. Nitish Kumar broke his alliance with the BJP for the second time in eight years on Tuesday before joining hands with RJD and other parties in the Mahagathbandhan including the Congress and Left parties.
The Grand Alliance also has the support of HAM, which has four MLAs in the Assembly.