Bihar Cabinet Expansion Delay Sparks Discontent Among Congress Leaders: State President Assures Party’s Representation Amidst Growing Uncertainty.
The postponement of the anticipated expansion of the Bihar Cabinet has caused dissatisfaction among State Congress leaders. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, the State president of the party, issued a statement on August 5th, assuring that the Congress will receive the appropriate representation.
The Congress has persistently requested two additional positions in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet. Each time, Nitish Kumar has responded positively, indicating that it would be addressed soon.
During Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Patna on June 23rd, where the first meeting of Opposition parties took place, Akhilesh Prasad Singh raised this matter. Nitish Kumar provided a positive response during the meeting, boosting the hopes of Bihar Congress leaders. However, as two months have passed, those hopes have started to fade.
Mr. Singh emphasized, “All discussions have taken place, and Cabinet expansion is on the horizon. It’s important to note that the Congress party’s significance cannot be dismissed. We are confident that the Congress will receive its rightful share of representation not only in the Cabinet but also in Boards and Commissions.”
The current Bihar Cabinet consists of 29 Ministers under Nitish Kumar’s leadership. Among them, 14 belong to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 12 represent Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U), and two are from the Congress party. The State Cabinet has the capacity to accommodate up to 36 Ministers.
Left parties are not represented in the Bihar Cabinet as they provide support to the State government from outside.
When Nitish Kumar formed the government alongside RJD and Congress, RJD initially had 16 Ministers. However, two of them, Sudhakar Singh and Kartikeya Singh, resigned.
Santosh Suman, the son of former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi from the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), recently resigned. Following his resignation, Nitish Kumar appointed Ratnesh Sada from JD(U), increasing their number from 11 to 12.
Mr. Singh added that the Cabinet expansion is expected to occur once Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav returns from Delhi.
“Just yesterday, discussions were held on this matter, and we urged him to at least announce the date of the Cabinet expansion. Tejashwi-ji indicated that as soon as he returns from Delhi, Cabinet expansion will take place after consultations with the Chief Minister,” Mr. Singh mentioned.
On a recent occasion, Rahul Gandhi communicated with RJD leader Lalu Yadav Prasad at his daughter Misa Bharti’s residence in Delhi and also met Tejashwi Yadav. Mr. Singh was also present during these meetings.
Currently, Murari Prasad Gautam and Afaque Alam represent Congress as Cabinet Ministers. Gautam is responsible for the Panchayati Raj Department, while Alam oversees the Animal and Fisheries Resources Department.
Meanwhile, during a visit to Patna, BJP Union Minister R.K. Singh criticized both Nitish Kumar and Mr. Yadav.
“Nitish-ji is well aware that his influence has waned since his party JD(U) has dwindled to 42 seats in the State Assembly. In the upcoming election, his support is expected to further decline. The RJD is unlikely to provide him more than 40 seats due to his weakened position. Nitish-ji’s stature has diminished. While he stated that Tejashwi will lead the next election, it remains to be seen if Tejashwi can participate, given his legal charges. Concrete evidence against Tejashwi makes it challenging for him to secure bail. Their prospects appear bleak,” Mr. Singh asserted.