Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United finally joined the Union Cabinet — but with only one berth. The BJP made it clear that they were not open to any demand of proportional representation, especially after meeting its promise of making Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister even though his party was 32 seats down in the assembly elections.
Though a section of JD(U) leaders insisted that they would accept nothing less than proportional representation, the trajectory of events became clear yesterday when Nitish Kumar spoke of “today’s context” and said that he would “accept whatever the Prime Minister decides”.
The JD(U)’s choice for the Union cabinet post was Ramchandra Prasad Singh, who was recently made its National President.
His induction now in the Union cabinet established that he is still the first choice of his boss Nitish Kumar, whom he joined as Personal Secretary during his stint as the Railway Minister.
When Mr Kumar became the Chief Minister in November 2005, RCP Singh was elevated to the post of the Principal Secretary. Once he took voluntary retirement, he was nominated to Rajya Sabha in 2010.
Nitish Kumar’s choice of Mr Singh for the post was not just because he is experienced when it comes to running the ministry in Delhi. He has also been someone who is close to the BJP. Over the last years, the 63-year-old has been the go-between for the state’s ruling allies who helps smooth out the glitches in the relationship.
Even though Nitish Kumar’s wish to ensure the participation of his core vote bank of Extremely Backward Class and Mahadalits in the union ministry remained unfulfilled, he can take solace from the induction of Pashupati Kumar Paras, the uncle who staged the recent coup and split Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party.
For Nitish Kumar, it was payback for JDU’s dismal performance in last year’s assembly election by the Chirag Paswan factor.
Not only was Nitish Kumar able to engineer the split in the LJP parliamentary party, he also ensured Chirag Paswan’s dream of taking over his father Ram Vilas Paswan’s slot in the Union ministry remain unfulfilled for now.