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Expansion of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's cabinet likely next week, Mukesh Sahni to contest MLC bye-election

India Today logo India Today 17-01-2021 Rohit Kumar Singh
Nitish Kumar et al. posing for the camera

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar met BJP state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal and Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad at his official residence in Patna on Sunday. The meeting, which lasted for nearly 30 minutes, has revived speculation about the expansion of the Bihar cabinet in the state's political circles.

Sources told India Today that the BJP has given its nod to the expansion and the same has been communicated to CM and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar. In his interaction with the media earlier, Nitish Kumar had said that the BJP had not shared a list of names regarding the cabinet expansion with him which led to delay.

Now, insiders believe that Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's cabinet could be expanded next week. The BJP has handed over its recommendations to the JD(U) chief, said sources. The appointment of senior BJP leaders Nandkishore Yadav, Prem Kumar, Vinod Narayan Jha, and Ramnarayan Mandal to various posts in the Vidhan Sabha committees has led spectators to suggest that Nitish Kumar's cabinet will have more youngsters from the BJP's side.

Among young BJP leaders who are in the fray are Samrat Chaudhary, Nitish Mishra, Nitin Naveen and Sanjeev Chaurasia. While Samrat Chaudhary is an MLC, Nitish Mishra is the MLA from Jhanjharpur, Nitin Naveen represents Bakipur Assembly constituency and Sanjeev Chaurasia is the MLA from Digha.

It is still unclear whether the expanded cabinet will include BJP and JD(U) leaders in an equal ratio. At present, the Nitish Kumar cabinet has 14 ministers. While seven are from the BJP, five are from the JD(U), one is from Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM and one is from Mukesh Sahni's VIP.

There are also rumours that former union minister Shahnawaz Hussain could be inducted into the Nitish Kumar cabinet. Hussain has filed his nomination for two seats of the Bihar Vidhan Parishad which will be up for bye-election on January 28. BJP-JD(U) ally Mukesh Sahni of the VIP has filed his nomination for the other seat.

Bihar MLC bye-elections

It is being said that the BJP agreed to field Mukesh Sahni for the MLC bye-elections only after he spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah over a phone call. Sahni is currently neither a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly nor the Bihar Legislative Council.

Prior to the Bihar Assembly elections, the BJP had promised VIP one MLC seat and 11 Assembly seats as part of the seat-sharing formula.

Mukesh Sahni was also reluctant to contest the Bihar MLC bye-elections but gave his consent following his conversation with the Union Home Minister. He will file his nomination on January 18.

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