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NEW DELHI : Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar made history on Monday after he took oath for the top post for the fourth consecutive term to become the longest serving chief minister of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

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

Apart from these three leaders, five leaders each of BJP and Janata Dal (United) or JDU also took oath today as ministers along with one leader each of smaller allies Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). The oath taking ceremony took place at Governor’s House in Patna.

Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) or JDU managed to win 43 seats, which the is lowest performance by Kumar’s party since 2005 when BJP and JDU came together for the first time to form government in Bihar and had completed a full five-year term.

"Congratulations to @NitishKumar Ji on taking oath as Bihar’s CM. I also congratulate all those who took oath as Ministers in the Bihar Government. 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.

Even before returning to power, Kumar had made it clear that the focus of the new government would be job creation by promoting startups, skill development centres, and soft loans for women to start own business. Bihar is one of the worst hit states by the pandemic because of reverse migration. According to official estimates more than 3 million people had returned their villages in the state during the nationwide lockdown. Kumar has also made it clear that the state government would focus on providing irrigation facilities and electricity to the villages across the state.

“Heartiest congratulations to Nitish Kumar for taking oath as Chief Minister of Bihar for the 7th time. Bihar will progress further under your leadership. Bihar will continue to get the support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi," senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said in a tweet.

The new Bihar government is also hoping to providing safe drinking water to more than 2 crore households. The promise of providing drinking water supply to every household was made by Kumar in his tenure and it is expected that the state government would complete the task in the new term.

Among the other promises made by BJP-JDU combine was to provide free vaccine for covid-19 to the entire state and also help at least 6 crore people of the state to benefit from Ayushman Bharat programme. The alliance has also promised to provide 10,000 doctors, 50,000 paramedic and 1 lakh people employment in the health infrastructure and AIIMS being setup in Darbhanga would start functioning by 2024.

The NDA leadership has also promised to generate 10 lakh job opportunities in the state by creating a supply chain all the FPOs for crops like maize, paan, honey, crops with medical benefits. BJP has promised to build at least 1000 new FPOs in the state. The new government has also promised to build 30 lakh houses for the financially weaker sections.

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.

“Best wishes to the respected Nitish Kumar on being nominated as the Chief Minister. 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 19 lakh jobs and jobs of and positive issues like education, medicine, earning, irrigation among others," Yadav said in a Twitter post.

The victory in the recently concluded assembly elections in Bihar has initiated social engineering in the state as the BJP is now targeting women and extremely backward classes to effect a social and voter base expansion of the party.

The decision to choose fourth term Katihar MLA Tarkishore Prasad as leader of the legislative party who belongs to the Kalwar caste, which is a part of the Vaishya community that comes under the backward class category and Renu Devi as deputy leader of the legislative party who is part of the extremely backward class (EBC) community has made the intention of the BJP clear that it is going to try and expand social base of the party.

The choice of Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi is also important because the two leaders represent the communities that have traditionally been part of the voter base of JDU. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was instrumental in creating the social base of EBC and also empowered women voters by agreeing to the demand of banning sale and procurement of liquor in Bihar.

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