Patna, 27 May-2014, TNN: Hundreds of BJP workers gathered at the party’s state headquarters to celebrate the swearing in of Narendra Modi as the country’s 15th PM and five ministers from Bihar in the Union council of ministers.
The Bihar leaders who made it to the council of ministers included Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan and Radha Mohan Singh who have got cabinet berths and Upendra Kushwaha and Dharmendra Pradhan (Rajya Sabha member from Bihar with his roots in Odisha) who have been made ministers of state.
Paswan, who heads LJP, was elected from Hajipur while Singh is elected from Purvi Champaran parliamentary constituency. Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Kushwaha was elected from Karakat.
Singh, Kushwaha and Pradhan are the first timers. Prasad was deputy leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha. He was information and broadcasting minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. Paswan has served as a Union minister quite a few times, including under Vajpayee.
Bihar appears to have received appreciable representation in the Modi-led Union cabinet. Of the 31 NDA MPs elected this time from Bihar, three – Paswan, Singh and Kushwaha, or 31% of the total, have been made ministers. The overall share of Bihar is also slightly more than 10% of the 45-strong Union council of ministers.
By including Paswan and Kushwaha in his council of ministers, Modi has shown political acumen. His eyes appear set on doing the groundwork for tapping electoral prospects during the assembly election in Bihar due next year. Modi’s move is expected to further strengthen the social combination in favour of the BJP-led three-party NDA in Bihar.
JD (U) leader and former CM Nitish Kumar, considered to be Modi’s bete noire, has already played a master stroke in the state politics by first resigning from the post of CM and then installing Jitan Ram Manjhi, a Mahadalit, as his replacement.
Sporting ‘Modi for PM’ saffron caps, the BJP workers continuously burst crackers at the BJP HQ from 5.30pm. The intensity became stronger after Modi completed his oath. They also shouted slogans like ‘Narendra Modi Zindabad’ and ‘Jai Sriram’.
‘Laddoos’ were distributed among those gathered at the state party HQ. State BJP chief spokesman Vinod Narayan Jha, vice-president Sanjay Mayukh and whip in the state assembly Arun Kumar Sinha also watched the proceedings of the swearing-in ceremony.