Nitish Kumar on Friday took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for a third straight term at the head of a 29-member Cabinet, including Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi as Deputy CM, in the presence of predominantly non-BJP leaders that could indicate possible future alignments.
TejPratap, Prasad’s another victorious son in the elections, was among those who were sworn in by Governor Ram NathKovind at a grand function in the Gandhi Maidan in which 12 ministers each from JD(U) and RJD and four from Congress were inducted. Both the sons of the RJD leader are first-time MLAs.
While Kumar retained Home, Information and Publicity and General Administration departments with him, he gave Road Construction and Buildings Construction portfolio to 26-year- old Tejaswi, his Deputy CM. TejPratap has been given Health.
Senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui has been entrusted with the Finance portfolio.
In an indication of his place in the order of pecking, Tejaswi followed the chief minister in oath taking as his parents Lalu and Rabri Devi, both former chief ministers, watched amidst full-throated cheers from the RJD activists in the gathering.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, whose party was also a major beneficiary of the grand alliance, Minister H D West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal, former Prime Minister DeveGowda, National Conference leaders and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar and AIUDF leader from Assam BadaruddinAjmal were among those present at the ceremony.
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was deputed by Prime Minister NarendraModi, was also present.
A number of Congress chief ministers including Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), OommenChandy (Kerala), TarunGogoi (Assam) and Siddaramiah (Karnataka) (CPI-M’s SitaramYechury, CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja, DMK’s M K Stalin and T R Baalu also attended the event.
Some allies of BJP Akali Dal Deputy Chief Minister SukhbirBadal (Akali Dal) and Ram Das Kadam and Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) were also present.
TejPratap was the third personality to take oath in the ceremony where NCP leader SharadPawar, Congress leader in the LokSabhaMallikarjunKharge, JMM leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and BabulalMarandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Party, also a former CM were present.
Rahul Gandhi reached the venue only at the fag end of the ceremony due to late arrival from Delhi.
Venkaiah Naidu sat beside RJD President Lalu Prasad and was seen talking to him from time to time. Leaders from Indian NationalLok Dal, INLD and AGP attended the event.
Though Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his CM son AkhileshYadav were invited, SP MP TejPratap Singh Yadav, who is also son-in-law of Lalu Prasad, was there.
Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) General Secretary SitaramYechury shared the stage as did Kejriwal and former chief minister Sheila Dixit and Gogoi and AGP leader PrafullaMahanta.
Rahul Gandhi shook hands and hugged RJD chief Lalu Prasad amid cheers by the crowd.
Nitish Kumar’s son Nishant and elder brother Satish were present on the occasion.
Lalu Prasad’s entire family including wife Rabri Devi and seven daughters along with sons-in-law sat in THE VVIP area and were seen cheering TejaswiYadav and TejPratapYadav in particular.