Published On: Sun, Jun 2nd, 2019

Nitish Kumar inducts 8 JD-U members in Cabinet, fuelling speculation of a rift

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday inducted eight JD-U MLAs as Cabinet Ministers, leaving out his ally the BJP and fuelling speculation of a rift between the two parties.

Nitish Kumar clarified that there was no split in the NDA

The Cabinet expansion came two days after the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief decided that his party won’t join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government because it was offered just one seat — a “symbolic” representation.

There are now 33 Ministers in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, up from 25.

The newly appointed Ministers are Ashok Coudhary, Shyam Rajak, Narendra Narayan Yadav, Sanjay Jha, Ramsewak Singh, Lakshmeshwar Rai, Neeraj Kumar and Bima Bharti. Bima Bharti is the only woman.

Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Ministers at a simple ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan. Five of the eight are first-time Ministers.

Nitish Kumar clarified that there was no split in the NDA. “BJP has decided that induction of their quota in the Cabinet would be done later,” he said and added that even the departments between the two allies has earlier been decided so there was no rift of any kind.

But some JD-U leaders, who did not want to be named, said the Chief Minister was upset by the way the BJP had offered “symbolic representation” in the Modi government though the JD-U won 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats it contested.

However, the BJP leaders have tried to downplay the development.

Senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi said that there was no dispute over the Cabinet expansion.

He claimed that Nitish Kumar had offered the BJP to also fill up the ministerial berths but the BJP will wait for now.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gave only one ministerial berth to each of its allies in the new Modi government.

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