Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will expand his cabinet today, with the biggest chunk of seats going to alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal, sources have told NDTV. The RJD will have 16 cabinet seats and Mr Kumar’s Janata Dal United 11, sources said. Two legislators from the Congress and one from Jitin Ram Manjhi’s HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha) and one Independent member will also take oath. The Bihar cabinet can have a maximum of 36 ministers.
The ceremony will be held around 11.30 am at the Raj Bhavan, sources said. Mr Kumar and his deputy — RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav — took oath on August 10.
Sources said Mr Kumar is likely to retain all ministers from his party barring one. Ally RJD is likely to name a new set of ministers cutting across castes, going by its new “A to Z” slogan.
It is not yet known which way the plum portfolios like home, finance, taxes and Road construction will go. In the last government, Mr Kumar handled the home ministry.
There is speculation that Tejashwi Yadav, who was Mr Kumar’s deputy in the Grand Alliance government, is likely to get health, finance and road construction, which was part the BJP’s share.
The new government is likely to prove majority on the floor of the assembly next week.
Mr Kumar had broken away from the BJP and formed government with the RJD and other parties, including the Congress, earlier this month.
Needled regularly by state BJP leaders since his party’s lacklustre performance in the 2020 state polls, Mr Kumar decided to end the tie-up earlier this month, convinced that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was trying to split his party.
Sources said he felt that the BJP was attempting a repeat of the Maharashtra model – where the Uddhav Thackeray government was dismantled with the rebellion by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde who is now the Chief Minister.