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Nitish returns: Watch out for Baharis as the Bihari takes oath

Panini Anand | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 9:21 IST

The ceremony

  • Nitish Kumar is set to take oath as Bihar CM on 20 November
  • The ceremony will be attended by many Opposition leaders and some from the BJP

The attendees

  • Most non-BJP, non-Congress CMs are likely to attend
  • Sidelined BJP leaders like LK Advani and Shatrughan Sinha might be there

More in the story

  • Does this signal a coming together of anti-BJP forces?
  • Who is invited from the BJP and who isn\'t?

For Bihar's Grand Alliance and its supporters, it has been an extended celebration. The alliance's victory in the Bihar Assembly elections on 8 November was followed by Diwali and Chhath Pooja festivals.

With the festivities now over, Bihar is getting ready for Nitish Kumar's swearing in ceremony on 20 November.

The bulk of Nitish's council of ministers is also likely to take oath along with him.

"MLAs from all three parties will be part of the Cabinet. The roles are yet being decided. The ministries and the Deputy CM post haven't been finalised," said a JD(U) leader.

Of course, the speculation isn't just about the composition of Nitish's Cabinet. The guest list for his swearing in ceremony has evoked immense curiosity as well. A number of national politicians and regional satraps are likely to attend.

Most of the faces would be from the Opposition and non-BJP ruled states.

Also read - Ears to the ground: Bihar's political analysts break down the verdict

Watch - #BiharResult is a political watershed. Here's why

No official list of invitees has been released so far. Yet, the politics and discussion around the possible faces is already on.

"We are inviting the prime minister, finance minister and the home minister. Let's see who all come from the government. BJP president Amit Shah is not in the guest list. But NDA partners like Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal are likely to attend the ceremony," a senior JD(U) leader told Catch.

Opposition unity

Nitish's victory has strengthened the possibility of a broader coalescing of regional leaders and this will be reflected in the swearing in ceremony. Chief Ministers from non-Congress, non-BJP ruled states - such as Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav and Naveen Patnaik - have been invited.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has already confirmed his attendance.

Their coming together is important as the Winter Session of Parliament is set to begin on 26 November.

The posturing by the opposition at the ceremony will also set the mood for the upcoming session.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's "betrayal" of the Grand Alliance seems to have been forgotten for the time being as he is likely to attend the ceremony along with his brother Shivpal Yadav. The very next day, on 21 November, Lalu Prasad is supposed to join Mulayam for his birthday celebrations at the latter's village Saifai.

The Congress, which was the junior partner in the Grand Alliance, will also have a number of representatives at the function. There will be one guest from the party's first family, either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. In all probability, it will be the latter. Other Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabhi Azad and Meira Kumar are also likely to be present.

Also read - #BiharResults: Why Rahul Gandhi needs to smile and be worried as well

BJP leaders

But the real show-stoppers would be the faces from the BJP. JD(U) sources said that sidelined BJP veteran LK Advani has been invited and might attend the swearing in. Another prominent attendee might be 'Bihari Babu' Shatrughan Sinha, who repeatedly criticised the BJP during the election campaign in Bihar.

The BJP itself is likely to be represented by Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Rajeev Pratap Rudy.

It will be a platform for Opposition parties to come together ahead of the Winter Session

However, most BJP CMs are not in the guest list. "As of now, CM of Jharkhand and Maharastra are not in the list of guests. We are expecting Sarju Rai, Food and supplies minister of Jharkhand (a rebel minister) to attend the ceremony," the JD(U) source said.

An invitation has been sent to Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray though the chances of him attending are thin.

So, there are two kind of guests. One is the larger opposition and the other comprises discontented, sidelined leaders of the BJP and the NDA.

A senior JD(U) leader says, "indeed, this will become an opportunity to see a more united Opposition. The event will undoubtedly carry a national message".

First published: 18 November 2015, 7:54 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.