National

Nitish Kumar to take oath as Bihar CM

Bihar,November 20: JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar will take oath today as Bihar's 35th chief minister, hoping to keep coalition partners happy by striking a numerical balance in his new government though he may avoid appointing a deputy for the time being at Gandhi Maidan in the afternoon in the presence of many political leaders from across the country.

Sources in the grand alliance the pre-poll coalition of JD(U), RJD and Congress said despite toying with the idea of appointing a deputy chief minister, Kumar could postpone the move in the absence of consensus among the three parties.

The Grand Alliance bagged 178 out of the 243 seats in the just-concluded assembly polls, which was billed as a battle between Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had campaigned extensively for the BJP-led NDA.

Former chief minister Lalu Prasadís RJD pulled off a bigger surprise by emerging as the single-largest party, winning 80 seats while the JD(U) 71 and the Congress 27.

According to the sources, top leaders of the JD(U) and Congress have expressed their reservation against having a deputy CM, arguing that it could be construed as Kumar's lessening grip over governance.

The JD(U) and Congress leaders also feel that the message should be of a strong Kumar who calls the shots in the government. 

The chances of Lalu's elder daughter Misa Bharti being inducted as a minister also looks remote though the doctor-turnedpolitician has been aggressive about her 
ambitions, telling the media that she was "ready to accept any role in the government, if given a chance".

There were speculations that Bharti, who did not contest the elections after her defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, could be accommodated in the upper house of the bicameral legislature.

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