PATNA: Senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar took oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth time on Sunday. He, along with 22 other ministers, was administered oath by Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi.
All ministers sworn in on Sunday were part of the government of Jitan Ram Manjhi before the power tussle and those expressed their loyalty to Kumar. All of them were reinstated in their respective portfolios.
The ministers who took oath were Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Ramai Ram, Damodar Raut, Narendra Narayan Yadav, P K Shahi, Shyam Rajak, Awadesh Kushwaha, Lesie Singh, Dulal Chand Goswami, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, Shrawan Kumar, Ramlashan Ram Raman, Ramdhani Singh, Jai Kumar Singh, Manoj Kumar Singh, Javed Iqbal Ansari, Bima Bharti, Ranju Geeta, Baidyanath Sahni, Vinod Singh Yadav and Naushad Alam.
Some berths in the Cabinet kept vacant in anticipation of some more ministers who might be inducted from the RJD and the Congress.
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad skipped the ceremony as the former’s grand nephew was getting married to the latter’s daughter.
However, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gagoi and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Senior politicians Moti Lal Vora and C P Joshi from the Congress, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and NCP leader Tariq Anwar were also present on the occasion.
“I will work without any prejudice and would take cooperation from everybody,” Kumar told reporters after the oath-taking ceremony.
He also said that he would again work on the development roadmap prepared by him earlier.
Indicating a soft posture towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “Politically, we can be face-to-face with each other as political rivals. But, for development of Bihar, I will have no hesitation to meet him and stress for a healthy Centre-State cooperation,” Kumar told reporters after taking oath as the Bihar CM for the fourth time.
His resignation was often interpreted as move to avoid face-to-face interaction with his bete noire Modi.
His resignation following the JD(U)’s drubbing in the General Elections last year was as prompted by his hesitation to come face-to-face with Modi.