Patna, April 13: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today revamped his two-and-a-half-year-old council of ministers, dropping 10 ministerial colleagues and inducting 19 new faces.
Of the 19, 17 were sworn in as cabinet ministers, while two were inducted as ministers of state. Twelve members from JD(U) and seven from the BJP were sworn in today taking the total number of the council to 36 marking a full-size ministry in Bihar.
Performance is a word that Nitish repeats often. While striking out the non-performers, the chief minister has tried to send a message that the new faces, too, cannot take their positions for granted, a source close to Nitish observed.
Before the swearing-in ceremony, the chief minister procured the resignation of all ministers. Then he accepted resignation of the ones who he dropped and rejected the same of those who happened to retain their positions.
Recently, Nitish had overhauled the top-rung of the states bureaucracy and police set-up, stating that the government will not tolerate non-performers. Today, without saying a word against the non-performers, he made his position clear again.
The revamp exercise had obviously left many of the dropped ministers bruised.
I dont know how he measures performance. I worked very hard in the two-and-a-half years of my tenure as transport minister, said Ajit Kumar, who lost his ministerial berth.
The surprise inclusion in the ministry was Chedi Paswan from JD(U).
The JD(U) had suspended Paswan as a party member for six years for his anti-party activities. Today, however, the party withdrew its suspension on him and Nitish inducted Paswan in the cabinet.
In Suchitra Sinhas case, Kumar preferred the husband over the wife. He replaced Suchitra by her husband Nagmani, a party MLC.