The battle may be over in Bihar with the election results being announced but the war continues. Although Janata Dal leader Nitish Kumar leads the cabinet with the post of the Chief Minister, a large proportion in the cabinet includes the two Deputy Chief Ministers hailing from the ruling party at the centre. Renu Devi and Tarkishore Prasad were sworn in on November 16, 2020, as Deputy CMs along with Nitish Kumar, who is set to become the second longest-serving CM in the history of Bihar.
The ceremony saw a boycott by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress even as RJD Chief continues demanding a recount of postal ballot votes in light of the alleged irregularities in the state elections
Sushil Kumar Modi, the deputy CM in the previous Bihar government and leader of the BJP legislative party in Bihar was not considered for the role this time in a move that sent shock waves across Bihar politics. However, Sushil Modi seems to have the move in a good stride weaving to continue on whatever responsibility he is entrusted with claiming “no one can take from me the post of a worker of the party.”
Bihar follows in the footsteps of Goa and Uttar Pradesh which both have two Deputy CMs and are governed by BJP. Both the Deputy CMs won by a major edge in their constituencies and proved their mettle. Renu Devi won the election from the Bettiah Assembly seat by defeating Congress candidate Madan Mohan Tiwari by a margin of 18,000 votes. Tarkishore Prasad defeated Ram Prakash Mahto from RJD in the Katihar Assembly by a margin of over 10,500 votes. Prasad will now also lead the BJP legislative unit in Bihar. Both candidates secured key votes and helped the BJP-JDU alliance gain victory in the election.
Renu Devi created history in Bihar by becoming the first woman Deputy CM of the state.
Formerly BJP’s national vice president and the current deputy leader of the BJP legislature party, Renu Devi’s nomination to the post of Deputy CM may create a path of progress in women-centric issues especially needed in a state that shows wide gender discrimination especially in the fields of education and employment.
The BJP-JDU alliance saw a massive vote share by women in the previous term and depended on the same for victory in this tenure as well. Devi’s election at this point comes as a befitting reply to the women of Bihar who were largely responsible for the victory of the alliance.
The close partnership between Sushil Modi and Nitish Kumar has continued from as early as the 1970s when both were student leaders in the anti emergency protests. Not being able to secure Sushil Modi’s position as Deputy CM comes as a major setback to Nitish Kumar. An effective link between BJP and Nitish, Sushil Modi was a key factor in the alliance but his closeness to Nitish wasn’t viewed favourably by BJP. With the power upheaval in the alliance, BJP is likely to assert more say in the politics of Bihar starting with the nomination of its choice of candidates for the post of Deputy CM.