Patna, 1 June-2014, TNN: To fill up vacancies in the Jitan Ram Manjhi cabinet, about 15 new members are likely to be inducted next week after governor D Y Patil’s return here. JD (U) sources here said CM Manjhi and former CM Nitish Kumar have already discussed the names to be included into the cabinet. About half-a-dozen ministers of state would also be inducted, sources said.
Sources close to the CM said, “Over 15 ministers will be included into the cabinet. The CM will fill all the vacancies up to the permissible strength of 38. At present, there are 17 cabinet ministers.” All castes and regions are likely to be represented in the expanded cabinet.
The names being mentioned for induction include former state JD (U) chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, who was nominated as MLC last week, BJP MLC Vijay Kumar Mishra who joined the JD (U) last week and agriculture minister Narendra Singh’s son and Jamui MLA Sumit Kumar Singh. Lallan had been a member of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha earlier and is tipped to get an important portfolio.
From the trading community, Lallan Saraff, who has been a family friend of Nitish Kumar for the last 40 years, Ranbir Nandan Prasad, a university teacher and leader of Kayastha community, which has remained unrepresented in cabinet for about 30 years, Ram Vachan Rai, Baidyanath Sahni, Samrat Chaudhury and Ramlakhan Ram Raman are tipped to be ministers. There are speculations about changes in the portfolios of some ministers too.
There is also a move to change the chairman of Bihar Vidhan Parishad, JD (U) sources said. In the 75-member Upper House, the JD (U) has 42 members while the BJP has 17 members.
JD (U) sources said majority of the party legislators were pressing the party leadership to nominate a party member as the new chairman of the Upper House since JD (U) enjoyed a comfortable majority in the House. Last week, 12 new members were sworn-in as members from the nomination quota, raising the JD (U)’s strength in the House to 42.