Nitish Kumar is set to be sworn in as Chief Minister for the fourth straight term today but with the results this time downgrading him to second place in the ruling alliance, he is likely to have two deputies from ally BJP instead of one, say sources. The BJP is also set to take the post of Speaker in the Bihar assembly.
The decision was reportedly taken at a late night meeting between Nitish Kumar and top Bihar BJP leaders.
Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi are likely to be the new deputies to the Chief Minister. Mr Prasad, 64, has already been named the leader of the BJP legislature party.
Four-time MLA Renu Devi, asked about the reports, said she would follow the party’s orders.
Sushil Kumar Modi, who had been Deputy Chief Minister to Nitish Kumar for much of his 15-year rule, is likely to be sent to the centre as a Union Minister.
The two are believed to share a good rapport, but according to BJP sources, their closeness is seen to be a hurdle in the party’s plans to dominate in Bihar.
With Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal United ending up with far fewer seats than the BJP, which had so far played second fiddle in Bihar, the changes were inevitable, say sources.
“The BJP and the Sangh Parivar gave me so much in the political life of 40 years. I will discharge the responsibility that will be given to me. No one can take away the post of the party worker,” Mr Modi wrote on Twitter yesterday.
Top BJP leaders are believed to be of the view that they have conceded the post of Chief Minister despite a gap of 31 legislators between the two allies – with the JDU in the junior position — so two Deputy Chief Ministers, along with the all-important post of Speaker, are only fair.
Nitish Kumar and the BJP retained power in the election that ended last week by winnin 125 seats in the 243-member assembly. The Chief Minister’s party, however, ended at the third place, with the opposition RJD or Rashtriya Janata Dal of Tejashwi Yadav winning the most number of seats, followed closely by the BJP.