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Nitish Kumar takes oath as Bihar CM for eighth time in 22 years

Nitish Kumar takes oath as Bihar CM for eighth time in 22 years

New Delhi: A day after snapping ties with the BJP-led NDA and joining hands with the RJD to form a Mahagathbandhan government, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took oath as Bihar chief minister for a record eighth time since he was first sworn-in as the CM of the state in 2000, in a very unpretentious ceremony at Raj Bhavan. Apart from Kumar, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav also took oath as the state's deputy chief minister for the second time.

However, all the three main alliance partners — the JD(U), RJD and Congress — are yet to finalise the number of berths and the legislators who will be made ministers.

As per JD(U) leaders, Kumar is likely to retain the all-important Home portfolio while the RJD may get most of the departments that were previously with the BJP. The departments that RJD may get include Road Construction, Health, Industry, Agriculture, etc, while JD(U) may get Education, Information and Public Relations, Water Resources, etc.

Soon after taking the oath of chief minister, Nitish Kumar took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the next Lok Sabha elections by saying that he (Modi) won in 2014, but should now worry about 2024.

However, rubbishing BJP's claim that the new government will not last its full term, Kumar said that his former ally "will be back where they were after the 2015 assembly polls" when the NDA could get less than 50 seats in the 243-strong assembly.

Relying on development and employment as key agenda to script Bihar's success story, newly appointed deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav said that there will be bumper jobs for the poor and youth within a month.

"Bihar did what the country needs to do. We've shown them a way. Our fight has been against unemployment. Our CM felt the pain of the poor and youth. We'll give bumper jobs within one month to the poor and youth. It will be something so grand that it has never happened before," Yadav said, adding that the Mahagathbandhan is so strong that the BJP would be the only one left as Opposition in the Assembly. "A difficult decision taken by CM Nitish Kumar is a decision which was need of the hour as communal tensions were being spread by BJP and they (BJP) were trying to kill regional parties," he added.

Meanwhile, leaders of the BJP, which is the second largest party in the assembly with 77 MLAs, were conspicuous by their absence at the swearing-in ceremony.

"We received no invitation. We would have, in any case, not liked to witness formation of a government which has been installed after betraying the people of Bihar, who voted for the NDA in the last assembly polls, and is an insult to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who stuck to his promise of backing Kumar for another term, despite the JD(U)'s poor performance," BJP leader Sushil Modi said.

"Nitish Kumar has been in the habit of ditching allies. He will not be loyal to the RJD as well, and try to break that party taking advantage of Lalu Prasad's ill-health... We are accused of betraying our allies by the JD(U) which cites the example of Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena came apart and we were not its allies then," he said.

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