Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that he will miss his former deputy Sushil Kumar Modi in his new Cabinet, Hindustan Times reported.
Modi, who served as the deputy chief minister under Kumar for 11 years, was replaced by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Renu Kumari and Tarkishore Prasad.
Kumar said that it was the BJP’s decision to not give the deputy chief minister’s post to Modi. “They [the BJP] should be asked about this,” he said after the oath-taking ceremony.
The BJP, meanwhile, denied the speculation that Modi was upset about not being included in Kumar’s Cabinet. “Sushil Modi is an asset to us,” former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP’s Bihar election in charge Devendra Fadnavis told ANI. “[The] party will think about him, a new responsibility will be given to him.”
Kumar was on Monday sworn in as the chief minister of Bihar for a fourth term. The other leaders who took oath as ministers were Vijendra Yadav, Vijay Choudhary, Ashok Choudhary, Mewalal Choudhary of the Janata Dal (United), BJP leaders Mangal Pandey and Rampreet Paswan, Santosh Manjhi of the Hindustani Awam Morcha, and Mukesh Sahani of the Vikassheel Insaan Party. Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oaths.
Modi attended Kumar’s oath taking ceremony but did not speak to media, according to Hindustan Times.
The former deputy chief minister had congratulated Prasad on Sunday after he was unanimously chosen to be the leader of BJP’s legislature party. He also 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 had 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.
The NDA won the Bihar elections by a slim majority. It secured 125 seats in the 243-member state Assembly. Significantly, the JD(U), for the first time in Bihar, won fewer seats than the BJP, pulling in just 43 to its ally’s 74. This was JD(U)’s worst performance since the 2005 Assembly polls. Experts believed that the results would put BJP in a dominant position the state.
The Opposition Grand Alliance bagged 110 seats. Despite losing, the Rashtriya Janata Dal emerged as the single-largest party, with 75 seats. The Congress won 19 seats, while the Left parties put up an impressive performance with 16 wins. The three parties – Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation – had put up candidates in 29 seats.