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14 new ministers inducted into Manjhi cabinet in Bihar

14 new ministers inducted into Manjhi cabinet in Bihar
A total 14 ministers, including three RJD defectors, were inducted into the 12-day old Jitan Ram Manjhi cabinet in Bihar on Monday.

With the induction of the new ministers on Monday, the strength of the ministry has gone up to 31, including the chief minister. The new ministers, including two women, were administered oath by Governor D Y Patil at the Raj Bhawan but were yet to be allotted their portfolios.

Those inducted into Manjhi ministry included Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, Shrawan Kumar, Ramlakhan Ram Raman, Ramdhani Singh, Samrat Chaudhary, Mahachandra Prasad Singh, Jay Kumar Singh, Manoj Kumar Singh, Javed Iqbal Ansari, Bima Bharti, Ranju Geeta, Baidyanath Sahni, Naushad Alam and Binod Prasad Yadav.

Ramlakhan Ram Raman, Samrat Chaudhary and Javed Iqbal Ansari are the three defectors from Lalu Prasad’s RJD. They were on the forefront of the flight of 13 RJD MLAs from the party and did not return to it unlike the others.

The three had resigned from the state Assembly recently and were made nominated members of the legislative council.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, a close aide of former chief minister Nitish Kumar, was also nominated MLC recently. He had lost from Munger in the recent Lok Sabha election.

Gautam Singh, who was among the 18 ministers who had taken oath on May 20, resigned early in the day to work for party organisation.

As per constitutional provisions, there is still scope to induct five more ministers in the Manjhi cabinet.

Kumar and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, besides Manjhi were among those who were present at the oath ceremony. Induction of new ministers indicated preparation of the JD(U) for the crucial state Assembly election next year.

Caste and regions have been given prime considerations in selection of new ministers.

Former chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with Manjhi picked the new ministers after a week-long discussion.

Manjhi -- hailing from mahadalit community, poorest among the dalits -- was made the CM after Nitish Kumar resigned following the debacle in the general election.

Luck finally smiled for Shrawan Kumar, five-time MLA from Kumar’s home district Nalanda, as he was inducted into state cabinet. Kumar’s departure helped him find a place in the cabinet as member of backward Kurmi caste to which Kumar himself belongs to.

Except for Ram Lakhan Ram Raman and Samrat Chaudhary, the remaining 12 became minister for the first time.

Bima Bharti, MLA from Rupauli in Purnia district, was so excited that she forget to read the entire oath. Bindo Prasad Yadav, MLA from Sherghati in Gaya district, was about to leave the stage after reading oath without signing the register when he was reminded of the exercise.

Samrat Chaudhary and Javed Iqbal Ansari denied being rewarded for engineering defection in RJD.

‘Had this been the case we could have find a place in the ministry in February itself when we had decided to walk out of RJD,’ Samrat Chaudhary, who along with his father and senior RJD leader Shakuni Chaudhary had left Lalu Prasad to cross over to Nitish Kumar party, told PTI.

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