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JD(U) president Nitish Kumar takes oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the seventh time- his fourth consecutive term during the swearing-in ceremony, at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Monday. (ANI Photo)
JD(U) president Nitish Kumar takes oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the seventh time- his fourth consecutive term during the swearing-in ceremony, at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Nitish takes oath as CM of Bihar; Prasad, Renu Devi his deputies

The JD(U) chief made history as the longest-serving chief minister of the National Democratic Alliance

Nitish Kumar made history on Monday after he took oath as Bihar chief minister for the fourth consecutive term and became the longest-serving chief minister of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Among the leaders who took oath in the coalition government, the choice of Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) indicated that the national party with its 74 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) is set to play a dominant role in the state government. The two leaders, who were seated on the stage with Kumar during the swearing-in, are tipped to be the new deputy chief ministers.

Apart from these three leaders, five leaders each of the BJP and Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) took oath in Patna on Monday as ministers along with one leader each of smaller allies Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).

The NDA family will work together for the progress of Bihar. I assure all possible support from the Centre for the welfare of Bihar," Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter.

Kumar’s JDU could only manage to win 43 seats, the worst performance by the party since 2005 when BJP and JDU came together to form the Bihar government.

By Mint
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By Mint


Before returning to power, Kumar had made it clear that the focus of the new government would be job creation through promoting startups, skill development centres, and soft loans for women to help them start businesses. Bihar is one of the worst-affected states by the lockdown-induced reverse migration, according to official estimates, more than 3 million people returned their villages in the state. Kumar has also promised to provide irrigation facilities for all farms and lighting of all village roads.

The new government is also hoping to provide safe drinking water to more than 20 million households. The promise of providing drinking water supply to every household was made by Kumar in his last tenure, and it is expected that the state government will complete the task in this new tenure.

Among other promises made by the BJP-JDU alliance was to provide free vaccine for covid-19 to everybody in the state and help at least 60 million people to benefit from the Ayushman Bharat programme, which aims to provides medical cover of 500000 to people from the financially weaker section. The alliance has also promised to provide 10,000 doctors, 50,000 paramedics and 100,000 jobs in the health infrastructure. An AIIMS being set up in Darbhanga will start functioning by 2024.

The NDA leadership also promised to generate a million jobs in the state by creating a supply chain and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) for crops like maize, paan, honey, and also crops that are used for medical purposes. The BJP has promised to build at least 1,000 new FPOs in the state. The new government has also promised to build three million houses for the financially weak.

On Monday, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav reminded Kumar of the developmental promises made by him even as the party-led Mahagatbandhan officially boycotted the swearing-in on the grounds that the mandate was for change.

“I hope that instead of the ambition of the chair, he will make the government’s priority the aspirations of Bihar’s people and NDA of 1,900,000 jobs and jobs of and positive issues like education, medicine, earning, irrigation among others," Yadav posted on Twitter. Meanwhile, the alliance’s victory has sparked off social engineering attempts with the BJP now focussing on women and extremely backward classes to try and expand the party’s voter base.

gyan.v@livemint.com

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