The decks have been cleared for JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar's fourth consecutive Chief Ministerial term with him being named as the next Chief Minister during a meeting of NDA stakeholders which is currently underway in Patna.
Nitish Kumar was also chosen as the leader of Janata Dal-United's Legislature Party in the new Bihar Assembly.
He was re-elected to the post at a meeting of the newly elected MLAs of the JD-U and the MLCs at the CM residence here.
Senior state BJP leader Sushil Modi was expected to continue as his deputy but may instead be replaced and sent to Delhi. There is also a buzz that the new Cabinet will have two Deputy Chief Ministers from the BJP, similar to the arrangement in Uttar Pradesh.
Nitish Kumar is likely to take oath as the Bihar Chief Minister for another term on 16 November after the NDA victory in Assembly elections.
In the results that came on 10 November, the NDA that fought the elections under its chief ministerial candidate Nitish Kumar managed to bag 125 seats in the 243-member Assembly.
The role of Nitish Kumar is expected to undergo a change in the new government since his party has won only 43 seats, much lower than the BJP's 74 seats. As a result, the JD-U will play the role of 'younger brother' in the new Cabinet.
Nitish will also face the challenges to keep the NDA forces united as the alliance has just three seats more than a simple majority of 122 seats. In this case, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) led by Jitan Ram Manjhi and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) have assumed the role of king-makers, despite their pre-poll alliance with the NDA.
These two parties are likely to claim important portfolios in the bargain. The past history of these two parties will be beneficial for the JD-U and BJP in the new Bihar government.
Nitish Kumar had given the CM post to Manjhi in 2014 in Bihar but when the JD-U leader asked Manjhi to step down, he refused and went over to the Mahagathbandhan.
VIP leader Mukesh Sahani was also in the Mahagathbandhan but demanded 25 Assembly seats to contest apart from the post of Deputy CM from the Rashtriya Janata Dal. When Tejashwi Yadav did not announced it in a press conference, he left the press conference midway and joined the NDA the very next day.
As per the 2015 equation, every alliance partner of the NDA has bagged one portfolio in the ratio of 4 MLAs. Thus, the number of BJP Ministers will be higher compared with the JD-U in the new Cabinet. Moreover, HAM and VIP have won 4 seats each but are likely to claim at least 2 portfolios each due to their importance for the survival of the new government.
With Inputs From IANS
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