Nitish Kumar targeting 3 portfolios; Who has a chance at United Nations platform?

Nitish Kumar targeting 3 portfolios Who has a chance at

Santosh Singh

Next to the Telugu Desam Party in the National Democratic Alliance, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) plans to use the 12 seats it has won to seek key portfolios in the Cabinet, including the Railway Ministry.

Hours after sharing a plane with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish Kumar attended a meeting of NDA allies in the national capital Delhi on Thursday. “It was a coincidence that the two leaders traveled to Delhi in the same flight,” JD(U) spokesperson and MLC Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express. “We are strong with NDA and look forward to a government under Narendra Modi for the third term,” Neeraj Kumar said.

Sources say that this support will pay off handsomely. In 2019, the JD(U) won 16 seats but was given a ministerial post as the BJP had a single majority, while party leaders say the 12 seats won by the JD(U) this time are more valuable.

Sources said the party is eyeing the ministries of railways, rural development and hydropower. Other options are transportation and agriculture. “Nitish Kumar has held the portfolios of Railways, Agriculture and Transport in the NDA government. We want our MPs to take up sectors that will help the development of the state. In the context of Bihar’s water crisis, with challenges such as water table depletion and floods, Jal Shakti is crucial. We can give impetus to inter-river projects,” said a JT(U) leader.

The minister reasoned that the Ministry of Rural Development would help boost rural infrastructure and economy. “Getting more railways is certainly a matter of pride for Bihar,” he added.

Not only this, party leaders also say that when the NDA contests the Bihar assembly elections next year, it is our wish to have Nitish Kumar as the leader. They also dismissed speculation that the government may see a change in leadership in the near future.

Among the frontrunners for possible ministerial posts are half a dozen Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs from the JD(U). Sources said the party has to strike a balance in accommodating “upper caste, OBC Kushwaha and EBC leaders”.

Among the ministerial contenders are former JT(U) national leader and Munger MP Lalan Singh, a “high caste idealist”; Janjarpur Member of Parliament Rampreet Mandal, an EPC leader; and Valmiki Nagar MP Sunil Kumar from Kushwaha community. Sitamarhi MP Devesh Chandra Thakur and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kumar Jha are also in the fray, but sources said Lalan Singh could be the front runner due to his long-standing relationship with Nitish Kumar.

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