Union minister Giriraj Singh on Sunday told Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who held the post of deputy chief minister of Bihar till now, that he would continue to remain an undiminished voice of the party as “nobody’s status is determined by the post he holds”.
Singh’s statement came hours after BJP MLA Tarkishore Prasad was unanimously chosen to be the leader of BJP’s legislature party, after the National Democratic Alliance won the state elections by a slim margin last week. Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar was selected as chief minister for the fourth consecutive term.
After the announcements were made on Sunday, Modi congratulated Prasad, and thanked the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, for giving him the opportunity to serve as the deputy chief minister of Bihar. “The BJP and the Sangh Parivar gave me so much in the political life of 40 years that someone else might have not received it,” he tweeted.
Modi added that he would continue to discharge the responsibility that would be given to him in the new government. “No one can take away the post of the worker,” he said.
To this, Giriraj Singh responded: “Respected Sushil ji, you are the leader, you had the post of Deputy Chief Minister, you will continue to remain the leader of BJP in the future as well, nobody’s status is determined by the post he holds.”
The new Bihar government
As Kumar is set to be sworn in as the chief minister of Bihar for the fourth time in a row on Monday, all eyes are on who would be appointed to the key positions of his Cabinet after an election that, for the first time, saw the Bharatiya Janata Party dominate over the JD(U).
Kumar’s name for chief minister was announced by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday, who had been sent from Delhi to play the role of an “observer” for the BJP, which emerged as the larger party in the NDA with 74 seats, according to News18. At the meeting, Kumar reportedly remarked that he was in favour of “a BJP chief minister”, but was agreeing to take up the job again “because of the insistence” of the saffron party.
There have been speculations that the BJP is likely to insist on having a greater share in the council of ministers and have one of its members as the Speaker, a post which has been with Kumar’s party ever since he took over a decade and a half ago. In addition to the two parties, the NDA in Bihar includes smaller allies Vikassheel Insaan Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha.
Sushil Modi, who has served as Kumar’s deputy for major part of his tenure so far, is likely to take the post of Speaker in the Bihar Assembly, unidentified officials told the news channel.
However, unidentified officials told NDTV that Kumar is likely to have two deputies from BJP instead of one. Prasad, who has already been named the leader of the BJP’s legislature party, and Renu Devi are likely to be the new deputies to the chief minister.
Meanwhile, HAM President Jitan Ram Manjhi, a former chief minister, has ruled himself out of joining the new ministry and is said to be lobbying for his son Santosh Suman who is a member of the legislative council.