Nitish Takes Oath, Lalu’s son Tejaswi Yadav Named Deputy CM

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav. Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and Finance Minister Abdul Bari during the swearing-in ceremony at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Friday. Credit: PTI

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav. Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav and Finance Minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui during the swearing-in ceremony at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Friday. Credit: PTI

Patna: JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, who was sworn in as Bihar chief minister today for a third straight term on Friday, kept the home portfolio with him while Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejaswi Yadav was named deputy chief minister.

The chief minister will look after home, general administration and information and public relations, highly placed sources in the Raj Bhawan said, adding that the list has been approved by the Governor Ram Nath Kovind.

Chief ministers across India usually retain  the home portfolio themselves. Nitish Kumar did so in 2010, when he had an alliance with the BJP. This time, he is heading an alliance government with the RJD and Congress.

Tejaswi Yadav has been named deputy CM and will be in charge of road construction and building construction departments, the sources said.

His elder brother, Tej Pratap Yadav, who will be number three in the cabinet, will look after the health and environment departments.

Senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui was given the crucial finance portfolio.

The holding of the number 2, 3 and 4 positions with important portfolios like finance, road construction and health indicates the dominance of RJD, the largest constituent in the alliance government with 80 seats, in the cabinet.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, whose party was also a major beneficiary of the grand alliance, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, National Conference leaders and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar and AIUDF leader from Assam Badaruddin Ajmal were among those present at the ceremony. The Left was represented by the CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and the CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja. The DMK’s M K Stalin and T R Baalu also attended the event.

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was deputed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also present.

A number of Congress chief ministers including Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Oommen Chandy (Kerala), Tarun Gogoi (Assam) and Siddaramiah (Karnataka) also attended.

Some allies of BJP Akali Dal Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal (Akali Dal) and Ram Das Kadam and Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) were also present.

Though Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his CM son Akhilesh Yadav were invited, SP MP Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who is also son-in-law of Lalu Prasad, was there.

JD(U) minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav who held finance in the outgoing Nitish Kumar cabinet, will look after energy now.

State Congress president Ashok Choudhary has been allotted human resources department, the sources said.

His colleague in the ministry, Madan Mohan Jha has been allotted the revenue portfolio.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh of the JD(U) got the water resources department while his party colleague, Jay Kumar Singh will handle industry.

The JD(U)’s Manju Varma has been given charge of social welfare department, the sources added.

Besides Kumar, 28 ministers took oath at a function at Gandhi Maidan, including two women – Manju Varma from the JD(U) and the RJD’s Anita Devi.

Seven more ministers can be accommodated in the cabinet as under the constitutional provision a maximum of 15 per cent ministers of the total strength of the house is allowed.

Senior Mahagathbandhan leaders said the coalition government has arrived at a formula of one minister for every 5 MLAs. According to this formula, the RJD’s share is 16, the JD(U)’s 14 and the Congress is 5, besides the CM.

The RJD won 80 seats, JD(U) 71 and Congress 27 out of a total of 178 seats that the alliance has in the 243-member house.