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Govt formation in Bihar: Union Minister Nityanand Rai is the man to watch

By Devsagar Singh

Govt formation in Bihar: Union Minister Nityanand Rai is the man to watch

New Delhi, Nov 16:Nitish Kumar of the JDU  will soon be taking oath as the  Chief Minister of Bihar, but many in the state  BJP feel it is the union minister of state for home, Nityanand Rai, who is the man to be watched.  Two-time  Lok Sabha MP from Ujiarpur parliamentary constituency in Bihar, Rai is a Yadav the BJP central leadership is said to be grooming to take over the state at an opportune time.

            The opportune time may not be far away. The BJP was promise-bound to install Nitish Kumar as CM after the NDA victory. As expected, Nitish had offered the post to the BJP in keeping with his party’s poor showing. The BJP, however, kept its high moral ground by installing the JDU leader in the top job. “Nobody expects Nitish Kumar to be replaced anytime soon. The BJP is interested in the smooth running of the government. But new BJP team will be readied slowly”, said a senior party leader requesting anonymity. Nityanand Rai’s name is among the top, he confided.

          It suits the BJP to prepare a strong Yadav leader in the state to take on Tejaswi Yadav of the RJD who lost chief ministership by a whisker. Nityanand has risen from ranks, having been chief of Bihar BJP Yuva Morcha as well as organizing secretary of the state party unit. Before being elected to Lok Sabha in 2014,  Nityanand Rai had been BJP MLA multiple times. When he registered his second Lok Sabha victory in 2019,  the central leadership rewarded him with an MoS rank under the watchful eyes of  Home Minister Amit Shah.  Rai is being virtually trained under Shah, it is said.

                It is in keeping with the party’s trust that Rai was dispatched to Bihar to supervise elections. A party leader did not discount the possibility of Rai becoming Nitish Kumar’s deputy at some stage,  if not now.  No wonder, Rai continues to be in Patna even at the time of writing,  taking part in discussions about ministry making along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as the central observer.

         Political observers say the removal of Sushil Modi as Deputy to  Nitish Kumar is the first clear sign of installing a new team. To begin with, the BJP  has chosen a non-Yadav OBC  legislator Tarkeshwar Prasad as leader of the legislator party and Renu Devi from the EBC category as the deputy leader. The selection of Deputy CM is said to be still under consideration. Who knows Rai may spring a surprise?

            The BJP has, to some extent, succeeded in splitting Muslim votes after AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s entry into Bihar politics. Its eyes now are on the monolithic Yadav community whose loyalty to RJD has been unflinching. It remains to be seen if Nityanand Rai makes a dent.  While projecting Rai, however, the central leadership is acutely conscious of its impact on other influential castes, including the non-Yadav OBCs and EBCs. This is the reason why the party made no delay in picking up from these two sections as leader and deputy leader of the legislature party.

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