The Bihar Cabinet is likely to be expanded in the next few days even as leaders of BJP state unit have met with party’s national President JP Nadda in Delhi, sources said on Tuesday. Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad confirmed that the Cabinet expansion would be done very soon.
The sources said that the Bihar leaders forwarded the probable names for inclusion in the Cabinet to Nadda on Monday. Deputy Chief Ministers Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal and Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi were present at the meeting.
The party wants to expand its popularity among all sections of society and hence wishes that ministerial berths be given on social and regional considerations.
The sources said that the list of probable ministers to be appointed in the BJP quota would be sent to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a day or two.
Leaders like Shahnawaj Hussein, Rana Randhir Singh, Sanjay Singh, Nitin Navin, Neeraj Kumar Babloo, MLC Samrat Chaudhary, Sanjiv Chaurasia, Sanjay Sarawgi, Krishna Kumar Rishi, Bhagirathi Devi, and Pramod Kumar are front runners for ministerial berths, the sources added.
A BJP leader said that there was a consensus in the meeting that all sections of society should get equal representation in the Council of Ministers, and that the party wanted to give both the experienced and young persons ministerial berths.
Meanwhile, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi claimed one more berth in the Cabinet and an MLC seat.
Commenting on the issue, former Minister and Janata Dal-United chief spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said: “Cabinet expansion is a special privilege of the Chief Minister — it will happen when he deems fit. It is his constitutional right to expand the Cabinet after an understanding with alliance partners. There is no dispute between them.”
Earlier, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Chitranjan Gagan had claimed that there was a dispute between NDA allies regarding ministerial berths and hence the Cabinet expansion had been delayed.
In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, the National Democratic Alliance won 125 seats — JD-U (43), BJP (74), VIP (4), and HAM (4). Lone BSP MLA Jama Khan and an Independent legislator Sumit Singh recently joined JD-U.
The Cabinet strength can be 36, including the Chief Minister. It has 14 Ministers at present, including 7 from the BJP, 5 from JD-U and one each from Vikasheel Insaan Party and HAM.