Lone representation in Team Manmohan disappoints Bihar

May 28th, 2009 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Patna, May 28 (IANS) With no leader from Bihar making it to the Team Manmohan Thursday, many in the state, where the Congress won only two Lok Sabha seats, expressed disappointment over the decreasing number of Bihar ministers in the union cabinet - from 12 in 2004 to just one in 2009.
Meira Kumar is the lone face from Bihar in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet. She was sworn in May 22 when 19 ministers took oath in the first instalment of government formation.

Fifty-nine ministers were sworn in at Thursday’s oath ceremony but there was none from Bihar.

“It was shocking for us that Bihar found no place when 59 ministers took oath. It is first time in my memory,” said Amit Kumar, 20, a college student.

There were 13 ministers from Bihar in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 1999. Ten ministers from the state were in the Deve Gowda-led government in 1996 and the same was the case in I.K. Gujral’s government.

“Nearly after two decades, representation of Bihar in the central ministry is very poor. It is a matter of concern,” said businessman Rajesh Kumar Singh, 50.

Marketing professional Jai Prakash Yadav, 40, feared that the “wrong” decision to have only one minister from Bihar will “effect (the) centre-state relationship”.

Many in the state were expecting that at least three newly elected MPs from the state will find a place in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

People were hoping that Congress MP from Kishanganj Maulana Asrarul Haque and two independent MPs Digvijay Singh and Om Prakash Yadav would be sworn in.

Haque, a Muslim cleric, is a first time MP from Muslim-dominated Kishanganj constituency. He defeated former central minister Mohammed Taslimuddin of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

“If the BJP can have Syed Shahnawaz Hussain as a minister after he won from Kishanganj in 1999, why the Congress cannot have Haque,” said Shamsher Ali, a Congress worker in the constituency.

The Congress won only two Lok Sabha seats from Bihar - Kishanganj and Sasaram. The party contested the elections alone after the seat sharing arrangement with Lalu Prasad’s RJD failed.

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