The selection of Tarkishore Prasad, four-time MLA from Katihar, as the leader of BJP legislature party has put a question mark on the role of Sushil Kumar Modi in Nitish Kumar-led NDA government, which is to be sworn in on Monday.
Prasad is being tipped to replace Sushil Kumar Modi as deputy chief minister even as suspense over the BJP candidate for the post continues. “The candidate will be decided soon,” said defence minister Rajnath Singh, who came as party observer on Sunday. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, too, said that the name will be decided soon.
A senior BJP functionary, however, confirmed that Prasad will be the deputy CM.
What has set the rumour mills agog about the possible new role for Modi, who was deputy CM-cum-finance minister of the state for close to 11 years was that he was called by the BJP’s central leadership to New Delhi on Friday. On Sunday, he was all along moving with the defence minister and was not seen with Nitish Kumar when he went to meet the governor to stake claim to form the government.
Modi, later congratulated both Prasad and Renu Devi, who was elected as deputy leader of the party and posted an emotional tweet. “The BJP and the Sangh Parivar gave me so much in the political life of 40 years that no other person would have got it. I will also discharge the responsibility that will be given. No one can take away the post of worker,” Modi tweeted.
Prasad, 64, is an intermediate pass from the local D S College Katihar. He won Katihar seat on a BJP ticket in October 2005 and since then he has never lost the seat. Prasad comes from RSS background and he had held several posts in the organization before joining the BJP. He retained the seat even in 2015 when JD-U had allied with the RJD and the Congress.
“I’ve been given this responsibility and I’ll carry out the duty to the best of my ability,” said Prasad after being elected as leader of the BJP legislature party in Bihar. He, however, refused to comment on the post of deputy CM. “I can’t comment on it as of now. Whatever responsibility comes, I will take the challenge,” he said.
Ranjit Kumar, a resident of Manihari said, “Prasad held several posts in RSS and his elevation in the BJP and in Bihar politics was because of his dedication to the party and the RSS.”
Katihar shares a border with West Bengal and experts believe it could be one of the reasons for his elevation in the party ahead of the assembly election in Bengal.
“BJP wants to enter West Bengal politics in an emphatic way and hence Tarkishore Prasad was elevated to the post of the leader of BJP in Bihar,” political expert Naresh Kumar Srivasatava said.
Prasad’s elevation has been widely hailed by the rank and file of the BJP in Seemanchal. “This is a matter of happiness that a leader of Seemanchal has been offered this coveted post in Bihar,” Rakesh Kumar, BJP president of Purnia district said.
In Seemanchal BJP and its ally JD-U won 12 seats out of 24 in with the BJP alone winning eight seats.
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