PATNA: The first Bihar Assembly session after the formation of the new NDA government will begin on Nov 23 without a Muslim face in the ministry — a first — in the state’s history.
The previous NDA government had only one Muslim, Khursid Alam from JD-U, who was minister of minority welfare. No Muslim candidate from the four allies comprising the ruling alliance has won the election.
In the recent elections, 19 Muslim MLAs, including eight from RJD, five from AIMIM, four from Congress and one each from BSP and CPI-ML (Liberation), were elected. There were 12 Muslim MLAs in the 2015 polls.
The JD-U, the key component of the NDA, had fielded 10 Muslim candidates. The rest of the three allies did not nominate any Muslim candidate.
“This is a clear indication of the loss of trust of the minority community in the NDA over the past few years. The NDA allies must ponder over their ideologies,” said Mohammad Shamim, a Muslim scholar.
“The absence of a Muslim face in the initial cabinet of 14 ministers does not augur well for the welfare of the minorities.”
NDA sources hoped that at least one minister from the minority would be inducted in the next round of cabinet expansion, which may take the number of ministers to 36, a statutory limit.
The last day of the five-day Assembly and Legislative Council session beginning Nov 23 will facilitate the passage of the second supplementary budget for 2020-21.
Prior to that, former CM and HAM founder Jitan Ram Manjhi will be nominated as pro tem Speaker on Thursday.
Sources said seven-time BJP MLA Nand Kishor Yadav is likely to be the next Speaker on November 25.
The pro tem Speaker will administer the swearing-in of newly elected MLAs Nov 23 and 24. Similarly, the Legislative Council session will be held on Nov 26 and 27.
Meanwhile, eight of the 14 newly sworn-in ministers in Bihar have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Six (43 per cent) of the ministers have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, according to the poll rights group.
Serious criminal cases are non-bailable offences with over five years of imprisonment.
Affidavits of two out of six ministers analysed from the JD(U), four out of six ministers analysed from the BJP, one minister analysed from the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and one from the Vikassheel Insaan Party show criminal cases against them, it said.
Eight or 57 per cent of the ministers face criminal cases, it said.
As many as 13 (93 per cent) are crorepatis with their average assets pegged at Rs 3.93 crores, the report said.
The minister with the highest declared total assets is Mewa Lal Choudhary from Tarapur constituency with assets worth Rs 12.31 crore and the minister with the lowest declared total assets is Ashok Chaudhary with assets worth Rs 72.89 lakh, it said.
Four (29 per cent) ministers have declared their educational qualification to be between 8th and 12th standard, while 10 (71 per cent) ministers have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above, the poll rights body said.
A total of six (43 per cent) ministers have declared their age to be between 41-50 years, while eight (57 per cent) ministers have declared their age to be between 51-75 years.
Out of 14 ministers, two are women, it added.
The Bihar assembly elections for 243 sets took place on October 28 (for 71 seats), November 3 (for 94 seats) and November 7 (for 78 seats).
The National Democratic Alliance won the elections after securing majority.
A 14-member council of ministers, headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was on Monday sworn in by Governor Phagu Chauhan.
(With PTI Inputs)