Nitish Kumar, Man Of Many U-Turns, Gets New Team With BJP As Ally

Nitish Kumar sworns oath as Bihar Chief Minister
Nitish Kumar sworning oath as Bihar Chief Minister

Nitish Kumar, the leader of the Janata Dal-United (JDU), was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the ninth time, signaling a significant shift in political alliances. Previously instrumental in forming the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ coalition with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress, Kumar has now joined forces with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan introduced a restructured team, featuring key figures like Samrat Choudhary, Vijay Kumar Sinha, among others, heralding a new era in Bihar politics.

At the forefront of this transition is Samrat Choudhary, appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister and the state President of the BJP. Choudhary, a prominent figure in Bihar politics, has long been associated with the goal of his party assuming power in the state, symbolized by his commitment to discard his turban upon achieving this objective.

With a political career spanning various parties including the RJD and JDU, the 54-year-old leader has previously served in ministerial roles overseeing Urban Development, Housing, Health, Metrology, and Horticulture.

In contrast, Vijay Kumar Sinha, aged 64, hails from the influential Bhumihar community. Beginning his political journey during his civil engineering studies at a polytechnic in Barauni, Sinha’s involvement in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), laid the foundation.

Elected to the Bihar Assembly in 2010, he assumed the role of Minister of Labour Resources seven years later. In 2020, he ascended to the position of Speaker of the Bihar Assembly, facing notable incidents such as Nitish Kumar’s confrontation on the House floor and being held hostage by RJD members in 2021.

The appointment of Choudhary and Sinha as the deputy chief ministerial duo underscores the BJP’s strategic endeavor to balance caste dynamics. This pairing aims to appeal to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) while maintaining support from the core upper caste constituency.

Additionally, the broader cabinet includes leaders like Prem Kumar, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Vijendra Yadav, Santosh Kumar Suman, Shravan Kumar, and Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh.

Notably, Shravan Kumar of the JDU shares the Kurmi community affiliation with Nitish Kumar, a demographic representing 2.8 percent of Bihar’s population, according to recent caste surveys.