PATNA: The allocation of portfolios to newly inducted ministers of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar has not been done even after four days of taking the oath of office and secretary. Besides chief minister Nitish Kumar, eight ministers had taken oath at a function held at Rajbhavan on January 28.
Highly placed sources said on Thursday that meetings were held between leaders of two major allies—BJP and JD(U) — over allocation of portfolios to the ministers—three each from BJP and JD(U), one from Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) led by Jitan Ram Manjhi and one Independent.
These ministers, however, were seen attending functions held by the state government. On Wednesday, they were present at a function organised by the state disaster management department. Two deputy chief ministers—Samrat Choudhary and Navin Kumar Sinha—have been provided Z-plus security cover by the government.
Sources said that the portfolios will be distributed after cabinet expansion before the Budget session of the state legislature on January 10, the day NDA government led by Nitish is to set to prove the vote of trust on the floor of the assembly. “There is no point in allocating portfolios to the eight ministers and then reallocating others after cabinet expansion,” a senior BJP functionary said.
He said that the portfolios will be distributed in the first week of February. The 2020 NDA government formula will be adopted for distribution of departments to the ministers. However, a source claimed that the portfolio allocation was delayed due to differences over allocation of home department, which Nitish wants to keep with him as earlier.
On the other hand, BJP wants to keep home department with it. Nitish has been holding the home department ever since he took over reins of the state in 2005. “So, he will never allocate the home department to anyone else. Finance which was held by JD(U) in mahagathbandhan may be allocated to BJP. Similarly, health and education departments may be allocated to BJP.”
Finance may go to BJP
Finance department, which was held by JD(U) in grand alliance government, may be allocated to BJP, sources said. Similarly, health and education departments may go to the BJP too.