New BJP in Bihar

February 26 2021

In Bihar, there is an ongoing exercise to give a new face to the BJP, where new and young faces are being given importance by bypassing the old leaders. In the current cabinet of Nitish Kumar, there are 16 ministers from BJP quota out of which 12 faces are brand new; while old ministers like Nand Kishore Yadav, Prem Kumar, Vinod Narayan Jha have not found a place in the new cabinet. BJP is also acting like an ‘elder brother’ before Nitish Kumar. In the 2015 assembly elections, Nitish’s JDU had 71 and BJP had 54 seats, while in 2017, when Nitish again joined hands with BJP, BJP ministers had no say. However, on the other hand, Nitish even used to appoint secretaries of those ministers, but the situation has now changed after the 2020 elections. This time, BJP has won 74 seats and Nitish’s JDU has won only 44 seats, so JDU quota has less ministers than BJP as Nitish’s current cabinet has 16 BJP ministers and 13 ministers from JDU. Shahnawaz Hussain, whom Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi never liked, is now Industries Minister in the Bihar government. The BJP High Command has entrusted this responsibility to him as part of its ‘check and balance’ strategy. The party leadership has given Shahnawaz Hussain the minister’s post as a reward for waging the BJP’s victory in the DDC i.e. District Development Council of Jammu and Kashmir. PM Modi’s emotional speech after senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s retirement from Rajya Sabha also opens new doors of possibilities for the BJP. In the recent past BJP has also brought Zafar Islam to the Rajya Sabha. All these ventures could be a bid to rally Muslim votes in upcoming Bengal and Assam elections and as such, Modi-Shah have the expertise to weave such a strategy.

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