Ask Tejashwi about cabinet expansion, says Bihar CM Nitish amid Congress' demands

When reminded of Congress' repeated demand for cabinet expansion, the chief minister said that they (Congress) should speak to Tejashwi Yadav on the issue.

Published: 11th February 2023 11:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2023 11:40 PM   |  A+A-

Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish Kumar

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar with Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav in Patna. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

PATNA: Close on the heels of Bihar Congress president Akhilesh Prasad Singh's fresh demand for cabinet expansion, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday threw the ball in the court of his deputy and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

"You should ask this question from him (Tejashwi)," said Nitish while responding to queries by media persons about much-awaited cabinet expansion.

CM Nitish was on his 'Samadhan Yatra' in Jamui on Saturday. When reminded of Congress' repeated demand for cabinet expansion, the chief minister said that they (Congress) should speak to Tejashwi Yadav on the issue. However, he also revealed that Congress leaders had talked to him about a possible expansion of the cabinet.

Earlier in the day, Akhilesh Prasad Singh said that he had talked to the chief minister about cabinet expansion. "Nitish ji has assured that cabinet expansion will take place after 'Samadhan Yatra'," he added. The state Congress chief's statement assumed significance in the wake of recent remarks of Tejashwi who had ruled out the possibility of cabinet expansion in near future.

Akhilesh, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, said that he was hopeful of getting at least two ministerial berths during cabinet expansion. At present grand old party has two ministers—Afaque Alam and Murari Gautam after the grand alliance government was formed in the state last August.

At a function held in Patna on Thursday, Tejashwi had said, "There will be no cabinet expansion now. I do not understand at first how the discussion on it started. No proposal for the cabinet expansion is not under consideration."

Tejashwi's remark on the cabinet expansion came in the backdrop of speculation over the cabinet expansion with Congress getting two ministerial berths. Tejaswhi's point-blank refusal of the cabinet expansion had, however, come as a rude shock for Congress legislators who were hopeful of being inducted into the council of ministers.

Nitish had also said that the cabinet would be expanded after ‘Kharmas’ (considered an inauspicious period in the Hindu calendar) that ended on January 14. In addition to Congress, two leaders from RJD can also be inducted into the state cabinet.

The grand alliance in Bihar is facing turmoil from within as JD (U) parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha has raised a banner against Nitish by accusing him of not giving him proper respect in the party even as he had merged his own political outfit, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) with JD(U). The controversy that erupted over the remarks against Ramcharitmanas has also yet to be settled.

On the other hand, RJD has yet to take action against former agriculture minister Sudhakar Singh for making uncharitable remarks against Nitish although a show cause notice was issued to the minister. Singh, who is the son of state RJD president Jagdanand Singh has already replied to the notice but it
has to be seen how the party leadership acts on it.

In the given situation, the cabinet expansion was already looking like a remote possibility, remarked a political analyst.


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