Past critics of Nitish now deputies in fresh restructuring

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Bihar’s New Political Conundrum

Recent developments in Bihar’s political arena have set the stage for a complex interplay. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will now have to contend with two of his harshest critics, Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Kumar Sinha, serving in the capacity of his deputies. These political dynamics, insiders suggest, could be a strategic move by the BJP aimed at regulating the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) head, a politician known for dissolving alliances, according to our sources.

Samrat Choudhary: From RJD to BJP

As the head of the Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samrat Choudhary recently assumed the role of deputy chief minister. Choudhary serves on the Bihar legislative council and has previously held ministerial positions in the RJD, JD(U), and NDA governments. In 2014, he broke ties with the RJD, later aligning with the BJP in 2017. His rise to power peaked after the NDA’s victory in the 2020 assembly polls, earning him the position of deputy CM.

Choudhary’s political gestures towards Kumar have come into the limelight. In 2022, he began wearing a saffron turban, a symbolic disapproval of Nitish’s political moves, vowing to do so until Nitish was “dethroned”. Choudhary, an OBC leader hailing from the Koeri community, has consistently criticized Kumar’s leadership, referring to him as a “non-entity in Bihar’s politics.”

Vijay Kumar Sinha: A Veteran Critic

Sinha, similar to Samrat, has been a vociferous critic of Nitish. The 64-year-old veteran BJP leader has held various roles, including Bihar Assembly Speaker, Cabinet Minister, and Leader of the Opposition. In his capacity as the Opposition Leader, he has been openly critical of the government, accusing it of collapsing law and order in the state.

Despite their previous criticisms, both Samrat and Sinha have pledged to commit to the development of the state following their new appointments. However, observers suggest that the BJP’s choice of deputy CMs is a calculated move to keep a vigilant eye on the new government.

The Future of Bihar’s Politics

Political analyst DM Diwakar suggests that the appointments of Choudhary and Sinha send a clear message about their intended roles in the future of the state’s government. “It is a clear message that two leaders who are known for their plain speak have been picked up to play an assertive role in the coalition government and work more independently,” Diwakar said.

Meanwhile, the JD(U) maintains that the appointments are an internal decision of the BJP and underscores confidence in CM Kumar. Party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar stated that the central leadership has accepted CM Kumar and recognizes his style of operation.

Close associates of Nitish — Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Vijendra Yadav, Shrawan Kumar, and others took the oath as ministers in the recent ceremony. Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh also joined the ministry, signifying a clear shift in Bihar’s political dynamics.

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