Now, Road to Bihar Goes Through Delhi? Induction of These 8 Bihar MPs in Modi 3.0 Seems to Suggest So
Now, Road to Bihar Goes Through Delhi? Induction of These 8 Bihar MPs in Modi 3.0 Seems to Suggest So
Lallan Singh, Ramnath Thakur, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Chirag Paswan, Giriraj Singh, Satish Dubey, Nityanand Rai and Raj Bhushan Nishad took oath as Union Ministers this Sunday. With each of them, the NDA is attempting to get its caste calculations right for Bihar Assembly elections next year

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third term has gotten underway without the speculated tug-of-war with alliance partners on ministerial berths. The Prime Minister has not only managed to ensure cross-regional representation with ministers from 24 states, but has also balanced out the caste aspirations.

Bihar, with eight ministers, is proof. From the JD-U, Lallan Singh, a Bhumiar leader, has been inducted into the Union Cabinet. Singh, the former JD-U president, won from Munger. He is considered to be one of the closest confidantes of Nitish Kumar.

Nitish Kumar, too, has balanced upper and lower caste dynamics by recommending Ram Nath Thakur, son of Karpoori Thakur, as the a minister in the Union Cabinet. Thakur, who comes from the Nai (barber) community, represents the Extremely Backward Classes who have stood by Nitish Kumar in elections. His oath as a Minister of State is also meant to highlight Nitish Kumar’s allegiance to the socialist principles of Bharat Ratna Karpoori Thakur. Nitish Kumar has often been referred to as the ‘Manas Putra ‘ (actual heir) of Karpoori Thakur by the latter’s family.

The inclusion of Jitan Ram Manjhi as a cabinet minister is the other deft balancing act by PM Modi. Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha won one seat, but was still given a cabinet berth. The move is seen as a message to the Musahar community, one of the most socially backward and economically impoverished communities.

Chirag Paswan from the LJP (Ram Vilas) has also joined the Modi Cabinet. The 41-year-old, with a 100 % strike rate, has proved to be the true heir of Ram Vilas Paswan’s legacy. After the death of Paswan Sr, Chirag had been sidelined by his uncle Pashupati Paras. The party name, MPs and the party symbol had all gone to Paras. Despite the odds, Chirag Paswan delivered all five seats his party was allotted in seat-sharing and was rewarded with a cabinet berth.

“I am shocked that my family members tried to break my party and sacrifice the family on the altar of their political ambitions. My father never had any arrogance irrespective of which portfolio he had and I would want to follow his example,” Chirag Paswan told News18 hours after he took oath.

The choice of Bihar MPs inducted into the Union Cabinet could also be dictated by the Bihar Assembly elections next year.

BJP’s Giriraj Singh, a Bhumihar leader who negated the challenge from Kanhaiya Kumar in 2019 and won comfortably in 2024 too, took oath as a Union minister for the second time on Sunday. “There is no challenge to Giriraj Singh with the induction of Lallan Singh in the Union Cabinet. He (Lallan Singh) is not Bihar’s Bhumihar leader, just the JD-U’s,” a Bihar BJP leader said when asked about the presence of two tall Bhumihar faces in the Modi Cabinet.

Bihar’s upper caste is also represented in the Union Cabinet with BJP’s Brahmin face Satish Dubey. A Rajya Sabha MP, Dubey had represented Valmiki Nagar in 2014 and 2019. The BJP believes that he helped garner the upper caste votes for the NDA in the Lok Sabha elections.

At a time when the BJP is facing anger from farmers, Dubey’s promotion to the Union Council is significant. He rose to prominence as a farm activist fighting for the welfare of sugarcane farmers in the Champaran region.

The deft balancing act of the BJP is also seen in Nityanand Rai’s position. A Yadav leader, Rai is seen as a perfect foil to RJD’s Muslim-Yadav pitch. Rai was MoS Home in Narendra Modi’s second term and worked closely with Amit Shah. His rising stature in the party is meant to convey positive signals to the Yadavs in Bihar.

Raj Bhushan Nishad from the Mallah community is the eight Bihari minister in the Union Council. A doctor by profession, Nishad won for the first time from Muzaffarpur. His inclusion as a Minister of State is meant to woo the Extremely Backward Community to which he belongs. It is also being seen as a counter to Vikassheel Insan Party chief Mukesh Sahni, the most prominent face of the Nishad community so far.

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