PATNA: Photographs of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and wife Rabri Devi were removed from Bihar Deputy Chief Minister’s chamber, minutes after Nitish Kumar returned as the Chief Minister with a new alliance partner on Thursday.
Nameplates of 12 RJD leaders, who were ministers until Wednesday, also disappeared. A day after JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar dumped his ally Lalu Prasad Yadav and his party RJD by stepping down from power, he was sworn back as the Chief Minister on Thursday with BJP support. Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi replaced Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav as Deputy Chief Minister. Tejashwi’s refusal to step down from power over allegations of corruption led to the crisis.
Nitish and Sushil Modi were administered the oath of office by Governor Kesari Nath Tripathy at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan. Soon after, Nitish convened a Cabinet meeting and decided to take a floor test on Friday instead of Saturday. The decision to go for an early test, sources said, was to avert “possible manipulations” by Lalu. “I had said while resigning that I would consider whatever is in the interest of Bihar,” said Nitish.
Back in the national capital, the NDA is all set to hasten the Cabinet reshuffle with the homecoming of the JD(U). The party, sources said, is likely to get a minimum of two ministers at the Centre — one of them with Cabinet rank.
While Kumar and the former party chief Sharad Yadav were among the prominent JD(U) faces in Vajpayee’s Cabinet, sources said that Nitish would most likely opt for fresh names.
“Sharad Yadav, who is 70 years old, is highly unlikely to be chosen by Modi or Nitish. Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh is amongst the favourite, the likes of Pavan Kumar Verma, K C Tyagi could also be in the reckoning,” sources said.