A day after newly sworn-in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar allocated portfolios, the Bihar Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has come out with rather disturbing statistics and facts about the members of the council of ministers who took oath along with the JD(U) chief.
According to the ADR report, eight of the newly sworn-in 14 ministers in Bihar have declared criminal cases against themselves in their poll affidavits, including serious criminal offences.
Of the 14 ministers whose affidavits were scrutinized, six (43 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, including two of BJP, two of JD(U) and one each of Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), said the ADR.
The finding was based on an analysis of the self-sworn affidavits of the 14 ministers submitted before the Assembly elections, said the Association for Democratic Reforms.
Interestingly, these 14 ministers belong to all four National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners: Janata Dal-United (JD-U), BJP, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahani’s Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). Two are from JD-U, four from BJP, and one each from HAM and VIP.
Of the 243 assembly seats in the state, the NDA walked home with 125 seats, three above the majority mark, defeating the Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan, its key rival, led by Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJS’s) Tejashwi Yadav. Congress, CPI-MLL, CPI-M, and CPI were also the constituents of the alliance.
While Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has kept the much sought after home ministry with himself, Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, both from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were sworn-in as Deputy Chief Ministers at a ceremony in Patna.
Tarkishore Prasad, the Deputy Chief Minister, has got finance, commercial tax, environment, forest and disaster management, urban development and information technology departments. Almost all of these were earlier handled by Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, the former Deputy Chief Minister.
Renu Devi, the other Deputy Chief Minister, got panchayati raj, backward classes development, ECB and industry portfolios.
Ashok Chaudhary got the charge of building construction, social welfare, minority affairs, and Mewa Lal Chaudhary got the education portfolio.
Mewa Lal Chaudhary could not get a post in the previous government after his name cropped up in an alleged scam in the recruitment of lecturers in an agriculture university.
Vijay Kumar Chaudhary got the charge of rural development, rural engineering, water resources, information and broadcasting and parliamentary affairs.
Sheela Kumari got transport, and Santosh Kumar Sharan SC/ST affairs and minor irrigation.
Mukesh Sahani is the new Minister for animal husbandry and fisheries. Mangal Pandey has retained the health portfolio, apart from road construction, art and culture. Amrendra Pratap Singh has got the agriculture, cooperatives and sugarcane portfolios.
Ram Preet Paswan has got the charge of public health engineering and Ram Surat Kumar the revenue and law portfolios and Jivesh Kumar will shoulder the responsibility of tourism, mines and labour departments.
(With agency inputs)