Unease over cabinet portfolio choices in Bihar's 'Mahagathbandhan' 

By PTI

PATNA: Differences seem to have already emerged in the newly formed ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) in Bihar, with exasperation over choices made for cabinet portfolios palpable on Wednesday within the ruling camp, a day after the exercise was carried out.

The CPIML (L), a partner in the Grand Alliance government, has demanded that the decision to induct RJD leader Kartikeya Singh in the cabinet be reconsidered as an arrest warrant was allegedly pending against him in a kidnapping case.

The party’s state secretary, Kunal, said the decision to allocate law department portfolio to Singh could tarnish the new government’s image.

Disapproving of yet another induction, JD(U) MLA Bima Bharti on Wednesday said she would quit her post if Chief Minister Nitish Kumar does not remove Leshi Singh from the cabinet.

Bharti is reportedly upset over not being given any portfolio.

“Leshi Singh is accused of many murders. I know the names of all people who have been murdered by her. She threatens witnesses. If she is not removed from the post of minister, I will resign,” Bharti told reporters.

Earlier in the day, the opposition BJP had also sought Kartikeya Singh’s dismissal from the cabinet.

The CM, when approached by reporters, said he had no information on the matter.

Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi sought to know how someone “who was supposed to surrender before a court in connection with a kidnapping case got inducted in the state cabinet”.

He said that Singh was an accused in a 2014 kidnapping case, along with 16 others, including former Mokama MLA Anant Singh.

According to sources in the BJP, Kartikeya Singh was supposed to surrender in Danapur court on August 16, but, instead, he showed up at Raj Bhavan to take oath as a minister.

Rejecting BJP’s allegations, however, a senior RJD leader maintained that Singh has been granted interim protection till September 1 by the court.

On Tuesday, shortly after the cabinet expansion, Modi had alleged that several ministers in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government have criminal records.

“Surendra Yadav, Ramanand Yadav and Lalit Yadav – who are these people? Even today if Surendra Yadav takes a walk in Gaya, people feel scared. Lalit Yadav was charged with illegally detaining and torturing a Dalit. Ramanand Yadav was once called the ‘don of Patna’. What message does Nitishji want to give by including such people in the cabinet?” he had asked.

PATNA: Differences seem to have already emerged in the newly formed ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) in Bihar, with exasperation over choices made for cabinet portfolios palpable on Wednesday within the ruling camp, a day after the exercise was carried out.

The CPIML (L), a partner in the Grand Alliance government, has demanded that the decision to induct RJD leader Kartikeya Singh in the cabinet be reconsidered as an arrest warrant was allegedly pending against him in a kidnapping case.

The party’s state secretary, Kunal, said the decision to allocate law department portfolio to Singh could tarnish the new government’s image.

Disapproving of yet another induction, JD(U) MLA Bima Bharti on Wednesday said she would quit her post if Chief Minister Nitish Kumar does not remove Leshi Singh from the cabinet.

Bharti is reportedly upset over not being given any portfolio.

“Leshi Singh is accused of many murders. I know the names of all people who have been murdered by her. She threatens witnesses. If she is not removed from the post of minister, I will resign,” Bharti told reporters.

Earlier in the day, the opposition BJP had also sought Kartikeya Singh’s dismissal from the cabinet.

The CM, when approached by reporters, said he had no information on the matter.

Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi sought to know how someone “who was supposed to surrender before a court in connection with a kidnapping case got inducted in the state cabinet”.

He said that Singh was an accused in a 2014 kidnapping case, along with 16 others, including former Mokama MLA Anant Singh.

According to sources in the BJP, Kartikeya Singh was supposed to surrender in Danapur court on August 16, but, instead, he showed up at Raj Bhavan to take oath as a minister.

Rejecting BJP’s allegations, however, a senior RJD leader maintained that Singh has been granted interim protection till September 1 by the court.

On Tuesday, shortly after the cabinet expansion, Modi had alleged that several ministers in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government have criminal records.

“Surendra Yadav, Ramanand Yadav and Lalit Yadav – who are these people? Even today if Surendra Yadav takes a walk in Gaya, people feel scared. Lalit Yadav was charged with illegally detaining and torturing a Dalit. Ramanand Yadav was once called the ‘don of Patna’. What message does Nitishji want to give by including such people in the cabinet?” he had asked.