Nitish Kumar stakes claim to form govt, to take oath as Bihar CM today

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will be sworn in for a fourth straight term on Monday afternoon after the four constituents of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) approved him for the state’s top job.

“The oath ceremony will take place at 4.30pm on Monday. We will talk and decide who all will take the oath. After the ceremony, the cabinet will decide when the House will convene,” Kumar, who is also the Janata Dal (United) president, said after meeting governor Phagu Chauhan.

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Kumar went to meet the governor at the Raj Bhavan around 2pm and staked claim for the formation of the new government in the state after being unanimously elected the leader of the NDA.

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“The governor was informed of the NDA’s decision and we submitted the letter of support of MLAs,” Kumar, who is on course to becoming the longest serving CM of Bihar, told mediapersons.

“Bihar people have given this opportunity so there is more development. There should be no inadequacy,” he said.

In all, this will be the seventh time when Kumar will take oath as the chief minister.

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Earlier, the NDA partners — the JD(U), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular and the Vikassheel Insaan Party — met at Nitish Kumar’s residence at 1, Aney Marg.

Kumar, who was the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate in the recently concluded elections, was chosen for the top post unanimously in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived in the state on Sunday as a central observer of the BJP.

Before the NDA meeting, Kumar was also elected the JD (U) legislature party leader. He is a member of Bihar legislative council.

In a tight election race, the NDA won 125 constituencies in the 243-member assembly with the BJP alone winning 74 seats.

The JD (U), which had 71 MLAs in 2015, settled for 43 seats while the HAM-S and the VIP won four seats each.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), led by 31-year-old Tejashwi Yadav, emerged as the single-largest party with 75 seats.

The opposition alliance led by it won 110 seats.

In the wake of the outcome, there had been intense speculations over a possible rise in the BJP’s share in the new cabinet and over Kumar’s role in the government.

However, the BJP repeatedly maintained that it will stick to the coalition dharma and that Kumar will remain as the chief minister.

Meanwhile, there is suspense over the deputy chief minister’s post. The BJP on Sunday selected four-time Katihar legislator Tarkishore Prasad as its leader of the legislature party in Bihar, sparking speculation that he is the front runner to the post of deputy chief minister.

There is buzz that Prasad will take over the reins from outgoing deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, who could get a role at the central level. There was no official confirmation from the BJP though.

Asked about Modi, Kumar said that “all things will be settled”.

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