PATNA: Amid buzz that the BJP may opt for veteran Dalit leader Kameshwar Chaupal as the new deputy chief minister instead of incumbent Sushil Kumar Modi, the Bihar NDA held its first meeting after the elections on Friday.
The speculation strengthened after hundreds of supporters of Chaupal raised slogans demanding his elevation as deputy CM, upon his arrival at the Patna airport. Chaupal is one of the 15 members of a trust set up on the directions of the Supreme Court to construct a Ram temple at Ayodhya.
He was also accorded the rare honour of performing the first Shilanyas — laying the first brick in the foundation for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya on November 9, 1989 — as part of the Sangh Parivar’s social engineering. He coined the slogan ‘Ram with Roti’, melding faith with livelihood.
However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may not be comfortable with a new deputy.
“Sushil Modi may not have a wide vote bank but he is well experienced in running ministries like finance,” some NDA leaders opined. As for Sushil Modi, the speculation is he could be sent to the Rajya Sabha on the seat that fell vacant after the demise of LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan.
Propping up Chaupal could also help the BJP build a Dalit vote bank to occupy the space vacated by LJP chief Chirag Paswan.
For his part, Chaupal said he had no official word on any new assignment within the government or the party.
Later in the day, Nitish submitted his resignation. An NDA meeting on Sunday will take the process of government formation forward.