Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reacted angrily after a senior legislator from his party JDU, Bima Bharti, said she’s upset at not being made a minister while her party colleague, Leshi Singh, is in the cabinet again.
“I cannot make everyone a minister every time,” Mr Kumar said, underlining that Bima Bharti had also been minister twice. “This kind of behaviour isn’t done. The party will speak with her (Ms Bharti) calmly. If she understands, fine. Or else, if she has thought of going here or there, she may consider that.”
Bima Bharti had threatened to resign if Ms Singh remains a minister. “I’m upset only with Leshi Singh that she’s always chosen. What does the CM see in her? She is repeatedly involved in incidents in her area; brings disrepute to the party. Why am I not heard? Is it because I am from a backward caste?” she said.
“If Leshi Singh is not removed, I will resign from the party. If my allegation against her is wrong, then I will resign as an MLA,” Ms Bharti further said.
But Nitish Kumar was having none of it. “She (Leshi Singh) was minister in 2013, 2014, 2019 too. There was nothing like this (allegation) against her then. This is all meaningless,” he told reporters in Patna, speaking in Hindi.
On Ms Bharti, the chief minister said, “We made her a minister twice too. When she could not even read properly, we taught her that, and kept her on. I am surprised at how she’s speaking. We have given her a lot of respect.”
He said he’d asked Ms Bharti to meet him yesterday. “She told my office that there’s no need for a meeting. That’s why I’m having to make this statement today.”
This is the second such controversy ever since Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP and revived his alliance with Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the Congress to form a new government earlier this month.
Thirty-one ministers were sworn in on Tuesday, adding to the chief minister and his deputy, Tejashwi Yadav. Three berths remain unfilled as the state can have 36 ministers as per rules.
Of those sworn in, questions were raised over RJD’s Kartikeya Singh, who faces a kidnap case.
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