PATNA — Former BJP ally and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha Sunday cautioned the saffron party that Nitish Kumar will “betray” it and it should be ready for “Dhokha number 2″ from the JD(U) president.
Kushwaha’s comments came as members of JD (U)’s allies, the BJP and LJP, were left out from the cabinet expansion in Bihar.
“I want to tell BJP people that Nitish Kumar has been known for disrespecting the people’s mandate. Betraying people’s mandate and alliance partners are his old habits...BJP people should be ready to witness ‘Dhokha number 2’,” Kushwaha told reporters.
“Aisa koi saga nahi jisko Nitish ne thaga nahi (There is nobody who has not been cheated by Nitish),” he said. This idiom will be translated into action here soon and hence the BJP should remain “cautious”, he said.
Kushwaha said Kumar remarks that the JD(U) would not join the Modi cabinet reminded him of ‘sour grapes’.
Nitish Kumar, whose JD(U) refused “symbolic participation” in the Union cabinet, has said on Friday that allies should have been given proportional representation in the cabinet.
Kumar had snapped ties with the BJP in June 2013 after Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, was made the saffron party’s campaign committee chairman for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
He later joined hands with the RJD and Congress to form Grand Alliance in Bihar which won the last state elections. However, in July 2017 Kumar brought down the Grand Alliance government as he pulled out of the grouping. But within hours, he joined hands with the BJP and became chief minister again.
8 new ministers in Bihar cabinet
On Sunday, Kumar expanded his cabinet with the induction of eight new faces ― all from his Janata Dal (United). BJP and LJP members were left out from the cabinet expansion.
Kumar, after the cabinet expansion, said the BJP was offered a berth in his cabinet, but the saffron party was not too keen.
Seconding Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister and BJP’s senior leader Sushil Kumar Modi said the party was offered a ministerial berth, but it opted out of it for now.
“Nitish Kumar has offered BJP to fill the vacant ministerial seat. The BJP decided to fill it in future,” the deputy chief minister tweeted.
The new ministers - Narendra Narayan Yadav, Shyam Rajak, Ashok Choudhary, Bima Bharti, Sanjay Jha, Ram Sewak Singh, Niraj Kumar and Lakshmeshwar Rai - were administered the oath of office and secrecy at a function at the Raj Bhavan here by Governor Lalji Tandon.
Kumar said the vacancies were majorly created by JD(U) ministers, who resigned from their posts for various reasons.
Tension seems to have been brewing between the alliance partners over allotment of berth in the Narendra Modi cabinet, although Kumar asserted that there was “no unease” between the partners.
Three seats in the Nitish Kumar cabinet fell vacant following the election of JD(U) ministers to the Lok Sabha.
The three ministers who were elected to the Lower House of Parliament included Water Resources Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, Disaster Management Minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav and LJP’s Bihar unit chief and Animal and Fisheries Resources Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras.
One post fell vacant last year after Manju Verma resigned as Social Welfare Minister in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter home case.
This is the second time in two years when Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet.
On July 29, 2017, he has inducted 27 ministers from all three NDA constituents, the JD(U), the BJP and the LJP.