Clout shrunk, Nitish again as Bihar CM

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16

Nitish Kumar took charge of Bihar for a record seventh term today but, as observers said, with “somewhat diminished clout and strength”.

Marking a big shift in its state political dynamics, the BJP, which won 74 seats to emerge as top scorer in the NDA, gave him two Deputy Chief Ministers, Tarkishore Prasad (Katihar MLA) and Renu Devi (Bettiah MLA), in place of Sushil Kumar Modi.

Nitish Kumar was sworn in at a ceremony attended by top BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda. The elevation of Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi is aimed at infusing freshness in Bihar leadership and sending a clear message of change to the cadre. “The BJP was portrayed as a party of upper castes and Prasad and Renu Devi represent underprivileged sections. The move also indicates that things are not going to be like they used to be. There was too much proximity between Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi and obviously the central leadership wanted to change that. It is a new beginning for the Bihar BJP,” political observers say. Apart from Nitish Kumar, Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, five MLAs each from the BJP and the JD(U) and one each from HAM and VIP were also sworn in as ministers. The elevation of Renu Devi is being seen as an effort to enthuse women voters who are believed to have supported PM Narendra Modi majorly in these elections. So far as former Deputy CM Sushil Modi is concerned, he may be accommodated in the Union Cabinet via the Rajya Sabha route or sent to a Raj Bhavan.

Induction of JD(U)’s Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, former Speaker, as a minister shows the BJP has managed the key post. The post is expected to go to BJP’s seven-time Patna Sahib MLA Nand Kishore Yadav.

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