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The newly sworn in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government is very likely to conduct the cabinet expansion on 16 August. Janata Dal (United)'s Nitish Kumar, last week parted ways with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by breaking off the alliance with NDA. Kumar had then resigned as the chief minister. 

He followed this act by announcing a ‘grand alliance’ with Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD). The Mahagathbandhan that was formed, saw Kumar take oath as the Chief Minister for the eight time to serve for the fifth term. It also saw RJD's Tajashwi Yadav take oath as the deputy Chief Minister. 

Janata Dal (United)' s Nitish Kumar and the ‘Grand Alliance’ is set to face floor test to prove majority in the Bihar Legislative Assembly on the 24 August.

Kumar parted ways with the BJP alleging that the party was trying to break the JD(U), and joined hands with the political opponents RJD in the Mahagathbandhan. 

According to news agency PTI, Nitish Kumar is likely to retain the all-important Home portfolio, while the RJD may get most of the departments that were previously with the BJP, a highly-placed source said.

He said an in-principle agreement has been reached about the composition of the new cabinet, which is likely to have “35 members or more", drawn from Kumar’s JD(U), the RJD and the Congress.

According to broader contours of the power sharing formula, the RJD will have the largest number of ministers, in recognition of the fact that it has a higher number of MLAs.

There is a likelihood of only Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav taking oath in the afternoon, since Governor Phagu Chauhan has pressing engagements and needs to travel, while remaining members will sworn in a cabinet expansion exercise later.

A broad understanding is said to have been reached among the alliance partners on the names, barring the Congress, which needs the same to be approved by the party high command in Delhi.

The JD(U) is likely to reinstate as many of its ministers as possible from the previous cabinet, which was disbanded on Tuesday night vide a notification issued by the chief secretary.

Kumar himself will be keeping Home, which helps him have a control over the police. He is likely to also keep the departments related to welfare of extremely backward castes and minorities, which form his core constituency.

The RJD has prepared a list of names and shared it with party supremo Lalu Prasad for approval. While Tejashwi Yadav is certain to become the deputy CM, it is not yet decided which portfolios he will keep.

The in-principle decision to hand over BJP’s portfolios to RJD implies that it will get some key ones like health and road construction department, the source added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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