More Ministers For Lalu in Nitish Formula; Oath Likely On November 20

PATNA (ND TV): After the giant win in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar now has to define the contours of his new council of ministers, no easy task given that this time’s mandate is for a three-party coalition in which a partner, Lalu Yadav, has won the most seats. The new government is likely to take oath on November 20 in Patna.

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Sources say Mr Kumar is likely to apply the tested formula of one minister for every five lawmakers. The new government is expected to be sworn in after the important festivals of Diwali tomorrow and Chhat on November 17.

For his party the Janata Dal (United), Mr Kumar is expected to negotiate with his coalition partners for departments like roads, health, electricity and education – areas which he promised to boost in his seven-point development agenda during the campaign.

It is not known yet if his partners will agree to this, but sources say that Lalu Yadav is not expected to push beyond a point on portfolios. He could, they said, ask for a ministerial post for one of his two sons, both first-time lawmakers, but the Yadav family, filled with politicians, is said to be divided on this given their inexperience.

Tej Pratap, 27, and Tejaswi, 26, have said they are ready to be ministers in the Nitish Kumar government.

There is wide interest in how the two regional powerhouses, Nitish and Lalu, will bridge many gaps to govern the state. For years they were bitter political rivals who attacked each other’s governments. For this year’s election they came together along with the Congress in what is called the Grand Alliance, to stall the BJP in the state.

Bihar has awarded them 178 seats, which is an absolute majority.

Lalu’s superior numbers, nine more than the JDU at 80 seats, gives him much muscle to flex. The Congress too has won 27 of the 41 seats it contested and is now expected to ask for some important ministries.

“The government here is going to run smoothly,” said Lalu Yadav on Monday, as he announced plans to take the battle against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi national after handing them the emphatic defeat in Bihar.

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