Bihar: Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Nitish Kumar will take oath on Friday as Bihar’s chief minister again, watched by a galaxy of national leaders ranged against the BJP. He will head the first JD(U)-RJD-Congress coalition to rule Bihar.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi declining to attend the event, the BJP would be represented by party leaders and central ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu and Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
The ceremony, to be held at the sprawling Gandhi Maidan, will draw tens of thousands of Mr. Kumar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad supporters besides nine chief ministers, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, NCP president Sharad Pawar, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and leaders of several other political parties.
The Chief Ministers are Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), P.K. Chamling (Sikkim), O. Ibobi Singh (Manipur), Nabam Tuki (Arunachal Pradesh), Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh) and S. Siddaramaiah (Karnataka).
Other political veterans would include CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, INLD’s Abhay Chautala, DMK’s M.K. Stalin and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.
There will also be former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah (Jammu and Kashmir), Sheila Dikshit (Delhi), Bhupinder Hooda (Haryana), Shankarsinh Vaghela (Gujarat), Babulal Marandi and Hemant Soren (Jharkhand) and Ajit Jogi (Chhattisgarh).
According to JD(U) leaders, Nitish Kumar will take oath at the head of a 36-member council of ministers.
The RJD is the single largest party in the house with 80 seats followed by the JD(U) (71) and the Congress (27 seats). There will be 16 RJD ministers, 15 from the JD(U) and five from the Congress in the government. Lalu Prasad’s younger son Tejaswi Yadav is expected to get a plum post.
Supporters of the JD(U), RJD and Congress from across Bihar are expected to pour into the Gandhi Maidan. Hundreds of security personnel would protect the venue and the VVIPs.
The JD(U) state president Vashisht Narain Singh told the media that it was the first time such a large number of top politicians would attend the oath taking of Nitish Kumar.
“Such a thing has never happened. It is the beginning of opposition unity in the country,” he said.
Friday’s gathering would be the first major show of anti-BJP unity since Mr. Modi became the prime minister in May 2014.
Also expected to attend the event are B.R. Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar and reputed Supreme court lawyer Ram Jethmalani.
Earlier, Nitish Kumar had invited BJP veteran L.K. Advani and estranged BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha to the event.
Lalu Prasad and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav will be the main guests at the event.