Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (Mint file)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (Mint file)

Nitish Kumar meets Amit Shah as JD(U) eyes cabinet berths in new govt

  • Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi will be administered the oath of office and secrecy with his council of ministers on 30 May
  • In the 243-seat Bihar assembly, the RJD is the largest party with 79 seats, followed by the JD(U) (73 seats), the BJP (55 seats) and the Congress (27 seats)

New Delhi: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Wednesday amidst Janata Dal (United's) expectations of being invited to be a part of the new government, according to a person aware of the development.

The meeting between JD(U) supremo Kumar and Shah comes a day before Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi will be administered the oath of office and secrecy with his council of ministers on 30 May. The 17th Lok Sabha election results has changed the political dynamics in Bihar with JD(U) getting a second wind in the run-up to the state assembly elections, which are around 15 months away.

“Nitish Kumar landed in Delhi today and went for the meeting with Amit Shah. The meeting just got concluded," said the person cited above who did not wish to be named.

Mint reported on 27 May about JD(U)'s plans to recommend its Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP) R.C.P. Singh and newly elected Lok Sabha MP from Munger Rajiv Ranjan Singh for Cabinet berths in the new Narendra Modi government, if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally was invited to be a part of the government.

The JD(U)’s move to identify its representatives in the Cabinet comes against the backdrop of the party’s strong performance in the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, in which it won 16 of the 17 seats it had contested from Bihar. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) won all 17 seats and six seats, respectively, which they contested, giving the NDA 39 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.

In the 2015 Bihar assembly polls, BJP fought against a Congress-RJD-JD(U) combine and fared badly. In 2017, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar switched side to the BJP-led NDA, ousting the Congress-RJD combine. In the 243-seat Bihar assembly, the RJD is the largest party with 79 seats, followed by the JD(U) (73 seats), the BJP (55 seats) and the Congress (27 seats).

The NDA stormed back to power with a bigger mandate than in 2014, winning as many as 353 of the 542 seats in the Lok Sabha for which counting was held. Election to the Vellore seat was cancelled. In 2014, the coalition had got 336 seats. Of the 353 seats that the NDA got this time, the BJP alone won 303.

On 25 May, Nitish Kumar had attended a meeting of the NDA partners.The BJP-led coalition’s emphatic win in the 17th Lok Sabha elections was paved by its strong performance in the Hindi heartland states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where it trumped regional alliances. It turned the identity politics of caste arithmetic on its head on which the heartland’s elections were fought over the years.


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