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Bihar Cabinet Expansion: CM Nitish Kumar Likely To Expand His Cabinet Tomorrow

According to constitutional provisions, Bihar can have a maximum of 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Currently, the state Cabinet has a total of nine ministers, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. 

Bihar Cabinet Expansion: CM Nitish Kumar Likely To Expand His Cabinet Tomorrow

NEW DELHI: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United president Nitish Kumar is likely to expand his cabinet on Thursday, according to sources. The Bihar cabinet expansion will take place days ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections. According to sources, under the JDU quota, most of those who served as ministers in the erstwhile Mahagathbandhan government can be sworn in as ministers in tomorrow's cabinet expansion.

According to constitutional provisions, Bihar can have a maximum of 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Currently, the state Cabinet has a total of nine ministers, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Among them, Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Kumar Sinha are Deputy Chief Ministers. Apart from these, Dr Prem Kumar of BJP, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Shravan Kumar (all three of JDU), Santosh Kumar Suman of HAM and Independent Sumit Kumar Singh also took oath as ministers.

Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar on January 28, 2024, with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nitish Kumar earlier resigned from the post, leading to the dissolution of the government in the state. Nitish Kumar's departure from the Mahagathbandhan government, which included the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), marked the end of the alliance. 

He cited differences within the coalition and the inability to fulfil promises made to the people as key reasons for the breakdown. The JD(U) supremo specifically targeted the RJD, stating, "I was left with no option but to sever all ties with the alliance."

In the aftermath of the alliance with the BJP, two deputy Chief Ministers were appointed - Vijay Sinha and Samrat Choudhary. A total of 8 leaders took oath as cabinet ministers in the new government led by Nitish Kumar. The newly formed Cabinet included members from both the BJP and JD(U), along with representatives from other parties. 

The list of ministers who took oath included Samrat Choudhary, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Dr Prem Kumar, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Shravan Kumar, Santosh Kumar Suman, and Sumit Kumar Singh.

Portfolios were allocated to the new ministers in Bihar nearly a week after the oath-taking ceremony, with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar retaining the crucial home portfolio but giving away finance, which his party held in the previous government, to its new ally BJP. Besides home, Kumar also retained key departments like cabinet secretariat, election, vigilance, general administration and "all other portfolios not allocated to anyone else". State BJP chief Samrat Choudhary, who was sworn in as a Deputy Chief Minister, got finance.

The BJP holds the largest number of Members of Parliament (MPs) with 17 out of 40 in Bihar. Nitish Kumar's JD(U) follows closely with 16 MPs. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), now divided between Pashupati Kumar Paras and Chirag Paswan, has six MPs. In the state assembly of 243, the RJD has 79 MLAs, BJP has 78, JD(U) has 45, Congress has 19, CPI (M-L) has 12, and other parties hold the remaining seats.