New Delhi [India], August 16 (ANI): Soon after the Bihar Cabinet expansion, Union Minister Giriraj Singh, lashed out at the newly formed "Mahagathbandhan" or the Grand alliance by saying that this alliance is formed out of "selfish interests".
However, Singh extended his best wishes for the alliance to complete the remaining term in Bihar.
In an exclusive conversation with ANI today, Giriraj Singh said, "I give my best wishes (to the newly formed Mahagathbandhan) to complete the remaining term. Although, I believe that this alliance is formed out of selfish interests."
"Nitish Babu (Nitish Kumar) snapped ties with RJD in 2017. Now, for some reason or the other, he has gone back with RJD. Nitish wishes to become a candidate for Prime Minister's post and (Deputy Bihar Chief Minister) Tejashwi Yadav wishes to become Chief Minister under his regime. As long as these two have their own interests, this (politics) will continue," he said.
Hailing the newly formed Magagathbandhan government in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Kumar Jha on Tuesday said that the "map of 2024 elections is clear" up to a great extent. "This entire Mahagathbandhan is stronger with Nitish Kumar coming (into the alliance). So, the map of 2024 is clear up to a great extent," Manoj Jha told ANI.
Responding to this, Giriraj Singh said, "Whether the Opposition will get united, it is up to them to know. Everyone dreams to become the prime minister and is in the race for sharing power. But the post of Prime Minister is for one person only."
A total of 31 ministers were inducted into the Bihar cabinet on Tuesday from various parties that are part of the Mahagathbandhan or the Grand Alliance in the state.
The new Ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan at Raj Bhavan here.
The RJD got 16 ministerial berths and the Janata Dal (United) 11.
Two legislators from the Congress, one from Jitin Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha and the lone Independent MLA, Sumit Kumar Singh, also took oath as cabinet ministers.
From RJD, Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav's brother Tej Pratap Yadav, Samir Kumar Mahaseth, Chandrashekhar, Kumar Sarvajeet, Lalit Yadav, Surendra Prasad Yadav, Ramanand Yadav, Jitendra Kumar Rai, Anita Devi and Sudhakar Singh and Alok Mehta took oath.
Congress legislators Afaque Alam and Murari Lal Gautam were inducted into the cabinet as ministers, while Hindustani Awam Morcha's Santosh Suman was also sworn in.
The Bihar cabinet can have up to 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Some ministerial berths will be kept vacant for future cabinet expansion, sources said.
Nitish Kumar had broken away from the BJP and formed a government with the RJD and other parties earlier this month. The Chief Minister and his deputy - RJD's Tejashwi Yadav - took oath on August 10.
The Bihar Grand Alliance has a combined strength of 163. Its effective strength climbed to 164 after Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh extended its support to Nitish Kumar. The new government is likely to prove majority in the Bihar assembly on August 24.
The BJP's central leadership will hold a meeting with the party's Bihar unit leaders here on Tuesday, days after the JD(U) parted ways with it and formed a new government in the state.
They are likely to deliberate upon the BJP's future course of action, and the strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, sources said, adding organisational changes may also come up for discussion. The meeting will be chaired by BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda and the general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh will also be present.
The 2020 Assembly polls in Bihar was a tight one with the National Democratic Alliance winning 125 seats, with BJP winning 74 of these, the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar 43, the Vikassheel Insaan Party 4 and Hindustan Awaam Party (Secular) 4. This put the NDA just above the requisite 122-majority mark needed to form the government.
The RJD and its allies, on the other hand, had won 110 seats. The RJD finished as the single-largest party with 75 seats, while Congress won a mere 19 seats. Of the 29 seats the Left parties had contested, they won in 16, with the CPI (ML-Liberation) winning 12 of them. Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM had won five seats in the Seemanchal region of the state. Four of its MLAs have switched to the RJD. (ANI)