Nitish Kumar is all set to take oath as Bihar chief minister for the fourth time on Monday. The constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which won the Bihar Assembly election, approved Kumar’s name for the top job at a meeting on Sunday.
He then went to meet the Governor and staked claim to form the next government in the state. However, all eyes are now on the cabinet and new additions, if any.
On Sunday, Kumar along with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) leaders held meetings discussing the probable size of the cabinet.
People aware of the developments said there are chances the JD(U) having 43 MLAs could get 12 ministerial berths while the BJP having 74 MLAs could get 18 ministers with one ministerial berth to be allotted to both Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).
The number of ministers could be increased in coming months, the people cited above added.
According to NDA leaders, the allocation of ministerial berths to allies is being done on the formula of allotting two berths for every seven seats the party has won.
On that basis, the JD(U) can expect to get 14 ministerial berths against 20 for the BJP.
The maximum number of ministers in the cabinet permissible in the government is 36 as the size of council of ministers can be only 15% of the total number of seats in the Assembly, which stands at 243.
Meanwhile, Tarkishore Prasad, who was elected as the leader of BJP legislature party on Sunday, is widely tipped to replace Sushil Kumar Modi as the deputy chief minister. The name of Renu Devi, an Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) leader, is also doing the rounds for deputy chief minister’s post. She was made the BJP’s deputy legislature party leader on Sunday.
News agency PTI reported that Nitish Kumar could get two deputy chief ministers, like in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, and Prasad and Renu Devi might be elevated as a step in that direction.
HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi, a former chief minister, has ruled himself out of joining the new ministry and is said to be lobbying for his son Santosh Suman who is a member of the legislative council, PTI reported.