The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) legislature party has named Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister of Bihar after a meeting in Patna, Bihar, today. This will be a record fourth time that Nitish Kumar will take oath as the Bihar CM.
The NDA legislature party made the decision in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Nitish Kumar reached Raj Bhavan in Patna to stake claim to form government in the state. After he met with Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan, it was announced that Nitish Kumar will take oath as Bihar chief minister on 16 November.
Earlier today, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (United) held separate meetings in the capital city of Bihar.
Talking to reporters outside his residence upon returning from the Raj Bhavan, Kumar said the swearing-in will take place in the evening of 16 November. He parried questions about details like whether BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi would be returning as his deputy.
“The governor was handed over the letter of support from all four constituents of the NDA. As per his direction, we shall be taking oath at the Raj Bhavan, tomorrow, around 4- 4.30 PM”, said Kumar.
Electing a leader of the legislature party was on top of the agenda today while cabinet berths. The NDA politicians also discussed the potential inclusion of the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
Speculation is rife that the BJP is mulling a Dalit as a deputy chief minister, but it remains unclear whether the person will replace senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi or Bihar will this time see an additional deputy chief minister.
In the recent elections, despite the BJP emerging as the single largest party in the ruling alliance with 74 seats, 31 more than the JD(U), the top leadership of the party at the centre, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had emphatically endorsed Nitish Kumar’s continuation as the chief minister of Bihar.
The BJP had won 74 seats and JD(U) 43 while two other NDA constituents won eight seats. The NDA combined won 125 seats, which is three more than the majority mark in the 243-strong Bihar assembly. The RJD, led by 31-year-old Tejashwi Yadav, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats. The opposition alliance won 110 seats.
The Bihar governor dissolved the assembly on 13 November.
Sushil may step down even as Nitish continues
Sushil Kumar Modi may step down and as per the sources the BJP is likely to choose a new deputy CM of Bihar.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh remained tight-lipped about the number two position saying, “will let you know” when reporters asked him about the appointment of Bihar deputy CM.
This new development follows the NDA today unanimously electing Nitish Kumar as its leader in the state legislature, paving the way for his return to the top post for the fourth consecutive term.
Kameshwar Chaupal or Prem Kumar as Deputy CM?
There is a rumour that Kameshwar Chaupal, who laid the foundation stone for Ram Mandir in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya in 1989, would replace Modi as the next Bihar deputy chief minister.
The Dalit politician is an RSS swayamsevak who is currently serving as a member of Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust.
The BJP had fielded him against Pappu Yadav’s wife Ranjeet Ranjan from Supaul seat in 2014 elections, however, he lost.
Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar met Governor Phagu Chauhanand staked claim for formation of the new government and is likely to take oath on 16 November.