Change of face for BJP in Bihar: ignored veterans criticise cabinet expansion

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Leaving behind the days of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veterans L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi at the national level, the saffron party in Bihar seems to be taking a new turn after emerging as the single-largest party in the Assembly elections.

In the state, the BJP has given indications of giving a platform to young leaders, sidelining veterans. In the Assembly elections held in 2020, although the party gave tickets to veteran leaders, they were, however, denied ministerial berths.

With the formation of the Nitish Kumar-led government’s cabinet, the BJP handed over the responsibility of Deputy Chief Minister to Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi instead of former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who has been elevated to the Rajya Sabha seat.

During the cabinet expansion on Tuesday, the veteran leaders were expected to get ministerial posts but were marginalised instead. Veterans such as Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar and Vinod Narayan Jha were shunted to send out a strong message of change.

The BJP, however, not just brought the party’s Muslim face Shahnawaz Hussain into Bihar politics, but he was made a minister, sending out a strong message to the party’s veteran leaders.

The BJP has tried to sideline all those leaders who were seen as the party’s face in the state. Looking at statistics, there are 16 ministers from the BJP in Bihar, of which 12 are newly inducted faces. During the state cabinet expansion, out of the nine ministers from the BJP camp, seven are new faces.

BJP has once again reposed faith in former Minister Pramod Kumar while Samrat Chaudhary has been given a chance to become a minister again. However, Chaudhary is a new entrant to the BJP. He served as a minister in the Nitish government when he was part of the JD(U).

After the cabinet expansion , rebellion has started brewing within the BJP it appears. Senior BJP leader and Barh MLA Gyanendra Singh Gyanu has criticised the party’s decision to elevate newly inducted leaders to the post of ministers. During the cabinet expansion, the BJP did not even take care of caste, region and reputation, he said. Experienced leaders and forward castes have been ignored, he further alleged.

Gyanu said as many as three ministers have been chosen from certain districts while many districts have been completely left out.

Meanwhile, congratulations and good wishes poured in for the new ministers after the formation of the new cabinet. BJP Bihar unit in-charge and MP Bhupendra Yadav also congratulated the newly appointed cabinet ministers, saying, “Many congratulations and best wishes to all the newly appointed ministers who took oath. Bihar is moving forward on the path of development under the leadership of the NDA government. The government is continuously working with determination to make Bihar ‘Aatmanirbhar’.”

–IANS

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