For the first time, there is no Muslim representation in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet in the Bihar Assembly.
In Bihar, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has taken office after winning 125 of the 243 seats in the recently held Assembly elections. Nitish Kumar on Monday was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the seventh time. Kumar also announced the various portfolios allotted among his council of ministers, keeping the home portfolio for himself. A 14-member council of ministers was sworn in by Governor Phagu Chauhan in Patna – seven from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), five from Janata Dal (United) and one each from Hindustani Awaam Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).
The ministers were meticulously selected to put the right caste combination in the cabinet. The new Nitish Kumar cabinet has the representation of Dalits, Yadavs, Bhumihars, Brahmins and Rajputs.
However, for the first time, there was no Muslim representation in the Nitish Kumar cabinet. This becomes the first time that the Muslim population almost 16 per cent in the state, has no representation in the Bihar Government.
The non-NDA parties or alliances that have won seats have their share of Muslim MLAs. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has eight Muslims among its 75 MLAs, the Congress has four Muslim MLAs out of 19, Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM has five out of five, and the Left parties have one out of 16 MLAs. The Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) only MLA is a Muslim.
In the recently held elections, JD(U) had fielded 11 Muslim candidates but none of them emerged victoriously. Khurshid Alam, the lone Muslim minister in Nitish Kumar’s last government, lost the election this time. Alam was the Minority Welfare Minister in the last government. BJP, HAM and VIP did not field any Muslim candidate in the elections.
As far as Muslim representation in Nitish Kumar cabinet is concerned, there are many Muslim Members of Legislative Council (MLC) in the party. People like Gulam Rasool Balyavi, Qamar Alam, Gulam Gaus, Tanvir Akhtar and Khalid Anwar could find a place in the cabinet if and when it is expanded in the future.
“Presently, the Nitish Kumar cabinet has been kept small but it will be expanded. Our party had fielded 11 Muslim candidates but none of them won. Nitish Kumar in future will induct a Muslim face in his cabinet. It is not possible that Nitish does not induct a Muslim face in his new government. Nitish has worked a lot for Muslims in the last 15 years and started several schemes for their welfare and development,” said Qamar Alam, JD(U) MLC.
Source: India Today