PATNA: The ruling JD-U held a grudge against BJP for continued delay over the issue of Bihar cabinet expansion.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, not long ago, had expressed his dismay over inordinate delay in the cabinet expansion saying that it is was the first time such a long delay is being carried out in NDA history.
JDU MLC Devesh Chandra Thakur, on Thursday, directly blamed the BJP for delay in the state cabinet expansion. The three-time MLC said "as a result of the delay in cabinet expansion, the functioning of many government departments is getting affected."
He further reminded that cabinet expansion used to place just three days after a new government is formed.
Almost two months have gone by since Nitish Kumar-led NDA government was elected in Bihar, but the cabinet has not been expanded despite heavy work pressure on 14 ministers. Thakur said that the delay in the cabinet expansion is sending a wrong message to people of Bihar.
A speculation floated that the cabinet expansion will be held after January 26 as BJP leader Shahanwaz Hussian and VIP leader Mukesh Sahni were elected unopposed to the state council as MLCs.
Sources close to both the JD-U and BJP said that "the Bihar unit of BJP has already sent a list of MLAs and MLCs for their inclusion in the cabinet to the central leadership of BJP in New Delhi."
A reliable source told that the cabinet expansion is getting delayed because JD-U is not agreeing to the seat sharing formula proposed by BJP.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Mithilesh Tiwari told the media that cabinet expansion is the chief minster's prerogative. "The expansion of the cabinet will be held at an auspicious time and the NDA government will run smoothly to complete its full term," Tiwari said.
He rebuked at the opposition for creating uproar over the cabinet expansion.
Both JD-U and BJP are mulling over whether to include young faces in the cabinet instead of the old faces or those who were the ministers earlier.
Bihar Deputy CM Tarkishor Prasad also claimed that the cabinet expansion will take place at the earliest. But when asked when, he refused to make any direct comments.
Some officials of the state government, posted at the secretariat, admitted that the functioning of the government has been affected due to delay in the cabinet expansion.
"At present 14 ministers, against sanctioned 44 departments, are bearing heavy work load of multiple departments. The date of the budget session has also been announced. In such a situation, if cabinet is not expanded it will certainly create a major problem," some senior officers said.
Among 14 ministers, seven are from the BJP, five from JDU and one from each Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) and the VIP parties.
As per sanctioned norm, only 36 ministers, including the Chief Minister, can be in the cabinet out of a total 243 seats. After the 2020 electionss, the NDA has got only 125 seats, out of which BJP has got 74 seats, JD-U has 43, HAM and the VIP each has got four seats.
It is said that the BJP is demanding more ministerial berths on the basis of seats won this time.
Last time, the total number of JD-U MLAs was 71 while BJP had 54. But this time BJP has 74 MLAs and JDU has 43, so the BJP is reportedly claiming for more ministerial berths in the cabinet but the JD-U wants ministerial posts on the basis of 50-50 formula.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)