Nitish keeps home, Tejashwi gets health, roads
PATNA, Aug 16: Portfolios were on Tuesday allocated in the new Bihar cabinet headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar who, predictably, retained the all-important home department which helps him keep direct control on the state police.
Most ministers of his JD(U) were back with the portfolios they earlier held.
The RJD and the Congress, the new allies in power, have got departments that were previously held by the BJP.
Besides Home, Kumar has kept with himself general administration, cabinet secretariat, election and “any other departments not assigned to others”, said an official communication.
Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is back as deputy CM after five years, has got key portfolios like health, road construction, urban housing and development and rural works.
Yadav’s elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav has been given environment, forestry and climate change.
Interestingly, Tej Pratap Yadav was the health minister in the previous “Mahagathbandhan” government of 2015-2017, and there were speculations in a section of the media that the temperamental leader “wanted his department back”.
When the BJP shared power, the portfolio had remained with Mangal Pandey, a former state president of the party.
Besides the CM and the deputy CM, only Vijay Kumar Chaudhary (finance, commercial tax and parliamentary affairs), Bijendra Yadav (power and planning and development) and Sanjay Kumar Jha (water resources and information and public relations department) have got more than one portfolios. All three belong to the JD(U).
Allocation of finance to Chaudhary is a significant departure from the past as the portfolio has remained with the JD(U)’s allies for most part.
Then deputy CMs Sushil Kumar Modi and Tarkishor Prasad held the finance portfolio, while in the “Mahagathbandhan” part 1, RJD’s Abdul Bari Siddiqui was in charge of finance.
Siddiqui, a seasoned politician, is currently not a member of either House in the state legislature and hence, has not been inducted into the ministry.
Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, however, has been divested of education which has gone to RJD’s Chandrashekhar, an academic by profession.
Other JD(U) ministers who hold their previous portfolios include Ashok Choudhary (building construction), Shravan Kumar (rural development), Sheela Kumari (transport), Sunil Kumar (prohibition, excise and registration), Zama Khan (minority affairs), Leshi Singh (food and consumer protection) and Madan Sahni (social welfare).
JD(U) minister Jayant Raj, whose rural works portfolio has been handed over to the deputy CM, will now hold minor water resources, which was previously held by Santosh Kumar Suman of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).
Suman, whose father Jitan Ram Manjhi is a former CM and his party’s founder, retains SC/ST welfare.
Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh, who quit the NDA by way of solidarity towards the chief minister, will continue to hold science and technology.
The new industries minister is Samir Kumar Mahaseth of the RJD. The department had of late been in a bit of limelight thanks to the dynamism of BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain who held the portfolio till his party lost power.
Congress ministers Afaque Alam and Murari Gautam have got animal husbandry and fisheries and Panchayati Raj respectively.
Sudhakar Singh, son of state RJD president Jagadanand Singh, has been entrusted with agriculture, while party veterans Alok Kumar Mehta and Lalit Yadav have got revenue and land reforms and public health engineering departments respectively.
Other RJD ministers are Surendra Prasad Yadav (cooperatives), Ramanand Yadav (mining and geology), Anita Devi (OBC and EBC welfare), Jitendra Kumar Rai (art, culture and youth affairs), Kartikeya Kumar (law), Shahnawaz Alam (disaster management), Shameem Ahmed (sugarcane industry), Surendra Ram (labour resources) and Israel Mansoori (information technology). (PTI)