Patna: “Push and Pull” over allocation of portfolios appears to have delayed in cabinet expansion of new NDA government headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after he joined hands with BJP deserting Grand Alliance on January 28.
In 4th ” U ” turn of his political career, Chief Minister Kumar deserted Grand Alliance on January 28 and joined hands with BJP to form NDA government. Besides Kumar, two others from JD(U), three from BJP, one from HAM and one Independent were administered oath by Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar.
Nitish had announced that he would expand his cabinet within two days but even after four days, expansion has not been made so far.
Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi who is also patron of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), a constituent of NDA, told media persons that he had demanded two berths in cabinet. His son Santosh Kumar Suman had already been made Minister but Manjhi is demanding cabinet berth for another senior leader of the party Anil Sharma.
“Sharma is a leader of upper caste from Magadh region and he should be made Minister”, HAM leader said adding that he had talked to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other senior BJP leaders asking for two berths in cabinet. It appeared difficult, Shah told in response to his request for two berths, Manjhi informed.
The HAM patron said that he was offered post of CM if he supported Grand Alliance
to form its government after Nitish snapping ties.It was well known fact that he was a leader of high principle and no one could allure him with offer of money or post, he asserted.
Manjhi said it was for the first time in history that cabinet expansion and allocations were so much delayed. It was expected that cabinet would be expanded by February 5, he informed.
The former Chief Minister also objected to an Independent Sumit Singh being offered choice portfolio after inducting him in cabinet.
If Independent was being offered choice portfolio, two Ministers from HAM should be inducted in cabinet, he stated.
The Senior HAM leader said that issues relating to cabinet expansion had been sorted out. If cabinet was expanded by February 5, it could not be dubbed as delay, he remarked.
On the other hand, BJP is demanding Home portfolio from Chief Minister Kumar but he is reluctant to oblige the saffron party. Kumar in his long tenure of CM for nearly 18 years, has never allocated Home portfolio to others in cabinet.