Patna: Amid preparations for the swearing in ceremony of Nitish Kumar as Bihar Chief Minister, expected to take place after Diwali, speculations are also rife all over the state that senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and the Muslim face of the party, Abdul Bari Siddiqui will be sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister in the new cabinet.
Though Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD Chief who has emerged as the tallest secular leader in India after the recently concluded Bihar polls, has not declared any name for the post, he has reportedly announced that the party will have in the cabinet Deputy Chief from the RJD.
Abdul Bari Siddiui, is one of the 24 Muslim MLAs who have been elected in the bitterly fought election between the Grand Alliance and BJP-led NDA.
The RJD had fielded a total of 16 Muslim candidates in the election. Out of them 12 Muslim candidates have made to the newly elected assembly. Abdul Bari Siddiqui is the senior most among them.
Abdul Bari Siddiqui's candidature as Deputy Chief Minister also gained momentum from the fact that the Muslim community played pivotal role in the victory of the Grand Alliance.
Abdul Bari Siddiqui has been tipped as Deputy Chief Minister in Bihar on earlier occasion also. When Ramvilas Paswan coined in 2005 the idea of having a Muslim Chief Minister in Bihar, Abdul Bari Siddiui's name was on top in the list.
The other name doing the rounds for the post is of Misa Bharati - Lalu Prasad Yadav's eldest daughter. Though Misa is not a legislator, she could enter the Legislative Council on the seat vacated by Lalu’s personal assistant Bhola Yadav, now an MLA, RJD sources said.
Chances of Misa Bharati however is marred by the fact that Lalu Prasad Yadav had in the past paid heavy political price for making his wife Rabri Devi Chief Minister of the state. Sources said Lalu would now take any such risk, expecially at the time when he plans to embark on nationwide campaign against the Modi-led BJP government in New Delhi.
Though Bihar has a huge Muslim population, it never had a Muslim Chief Ministe except Congress leader Abdul Ghafoor. Gafoor, who died in Patna on 10 July 2004, was Chief Binister of Bihar from July 1973 to April 1975. Later, he also served as cabinet minister in Rajeev Gandhi's ministry.
Other prominent Muslim name in Bihar politics is of Mohammad Yunus. Yunus was the first "Prime Minister" of Bihar province in British India. He Served for three months in 1937, during the state's first democratic election. His minority government, however, never faced the assembly as it had already resigned when the session begun.
Interestingly, Lalu Yadav' two sons Tej Pratap and Tejaswi Yadav have also won the election. None of them however is considered for the Deputy CM post. But, there are high chances of one of them becoming a minister.
Meanwhile, the Congress party, which has won 27 seats, has also indicated that it would join the Nitish Kumar led government in the state. It is learnt that the Grand Alliance will stick to the 4:4:2 seat-sharing formula between RJD, JD (U) and Congress for ministry distribution.