Nitish Kumar Oath Taking Ceremony LATEST Updates:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Nitish Kumar as taking oath as the Chief Minister Of Bihar for his fourth straight term on Monday. Modi was one of the BJP leaders who had endorsed JD(U) chief Nitish as the NDA's chief ministerial candidate since before the Assembly polls.
Santosh Kumar Suman, son of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, and Mukesh Sahni of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) took oaths as Cabinet ministers.
Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth consecutive term by Governor Phagu Chauhan. Tarikishore Prasad and Renu Devi werre sworn in as the Deputy Chief Ministers, while Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and Bijendra Prasad Yadav took oaths as Cabinet ministers.
RJD said it will boycott the oath-taking ceremony of Nitish Kumar, claiming the mandate in the elections was "against the NDA" which has been changed by a "fraud".
Ahead of Nitish Kumar's oath-taking ceremony, the names of Renu Devi and Tarkishore Prasad emerged as likely candidates for the post of the deputy chief ministers. Meanwhile, reports said the Bihar Assembly Speaker is expected to be from the BJP.
Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar is set to take oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth consecutive term, with the party having won the recently concluded Assembly elections in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, suspense continues over the deputy chief minister and other ministers although there were speculations that BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi may not be reinstated as the deputy chief minister.
The JD(U) patriarch was on Sunday unanimously elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state legislature.
Katihar MLA Tarkishore Prasad was elected as the party's leader in the Assembly, while Bettiah MLA Renu Devi was elected as the deputy leader of the BJP legislature party,
After meeting Governor Phagu Chouhan to stake claim to government formation, Nitish said the swearing-in will take place Monday evening but parried questions about details like whether Modi would be returning as his deputy.
According to news agency PTI, Nitish said that a letter from all four NDA constituents was handed over to the governor, who directed that the oath-taking ceremony be held at the Raj Bhavan around 4 or 4.30 pm on Monday.
"After the swearing-in, we will convene the meeting of the cabinet where a decision on convening the Assembly session will be taken", said Kumar said.
The JD(U) leader had however evaded queries as to whether the BJP, which has won more seats than his party, has sought a greater representation in the Cabinet.
Though the NDA won the Assembly elections, the JD (U) was relegated to the third place as the seats held by the party fell to 43 from 71 in 2015. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged as the single largest party with 75 seats while the BJP came a close second with 74 seats.
Along with alliance partners Hindustani Awami Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insaan (VIP), the NDA clinched 125 Assembly constituencies.
Nitish was declared the ruling coalition's chief ministerial candidate much before the election process had started and has received endorsement from top leaders of the saffron party.
Asked about Sushil, known to be close to Nitish, the former chief minister quipped "all things will be settled".
Speculation that Sushil may be replaced intensified after the senior BJP leader did not accompany Nitish to the Raj Bhavan on Sunday but went to the State Guest House along with defence minister Rajnath Singh, who had flown down as an observer of the BJP.
Shortly after Nitish's return from the Raj Bhavan, Rajnath and Sushil met the governor, fuelling speculation about the latter's future in the state's politics.
Rajnath also refused to comment on whether Sushil will be the deputy chief minister again, saying "it will be known in due course."
Sushil, who is an avid user of social media, had his designation as Deputy CM dropped from his Twitter handle.
The senior BJP leader also shared a cryptic tweet, stating that he will discharge whatever responsibility is handed over to him.
"Few might have got from the BJP and the RSS as much as I did in my 40 years of political career. I will fulfill whatever responsibility that comes my way in future. Nobody can, after, all, snatch away from me the post of a party worker", Modi said
Sushil has been the deputy chief minister of Bihar since 2005, barring a 20-month break when Nitish Kumar formed a government in alliance with the RJD in 2015, and is known to share an excellent rapport with the chief minister
The names of Prasad, a Vaishya who is known to be close to Sushil Modi, and Renu Devi an Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) who was formerly the party's national vice-president, kept doing the rounds for the post though there has been no official confirmation.
There was also speculation that Bihar might go for two Deputy chief ministers like in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Prasad and Renu Devi might be elevated as a step in that direction.
However, Prasad said that as a dedicated BJP worker , he would try to perform whatever responsibility is given to him with all dedication while Renu Devi said she will follow the party's order.
Names of eight-term MLA from Gaya town Prem Kumar and that of Kameshwar Choupal, a Dalit MLC who had laid the foundation stone for the temple at Ayodhya in the 1990s, were also doing the rounds for the post in the political circles.
"I have not been staking any claim. We are all committed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of making Bihar Atmanirbhar. NDA leaders will amicably decide who should be the leader and the deputy leader," PTI quoted Prem Kumar as saying.
It is also not yet known who all from the four NDA constituents —the BJP, JD(U), HAM and VIP — form the state cabinet. The HAM and VIP have won four seats each.
The outgoing Bihar government had a total of 30 ministers, including Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi. Among them, 18 were from the JD(U) and the rest 12 from the BJP.
Jitan Ram Manjhi, who heads the HAM has made it clear that since he has already served as chief minister he won't take up any ministerial assignment.
Ten of the of 24 ministers of the previous Cabinet who contested he polls, lost while Nitish, Modi and four others members of the state's Legislative Council did not contest the polls.
Among the losing ministers from the JD(U) are Shailesh Kumar, Santosh Kumar Nirala, Jay Kumar Singh, Krishnandan Verma, Ram Sevak Singh, Ramewsh Rishideo, Khursid alias Firoz Ahmed and Lakshmeshwar Rai. From the BJP, Suresh Kumar Sharma and Brij Kumar Bind are the two ministers who lost.
With inputs from PTI