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India's CJI seeks increase in number of SC judges

NEW DELHI, June 22: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to increase the strength of judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years.

The primary reason cited by the CJI for increasing the strength of judges was that the apex court already had a huge backlog of cases, with 58,669 cases pending before it. Gogoi’s letter also says that in important cases dealing with questions of law, Constitution benches were not being formed because there was a shortage of judges.

"I request you to kindly consider, on top priority, to augment the judge-strength in the SC appropriately so that it can function more efficiently and effectively as it will go a long way to attain ultimate goal of rendering timely justice to the litigant public," wrote Gogoi.

Moreover, the CJI has also sought for retired Supreme Court and High Court justices to be given tenure appointments under Articles 128 and 224A of the Constitution so that they can aid the clearing of the backlog of litigation.

Bihar's Encephalitis Toll Reaches 139

PATNA/MUZAFFARPUR, June 21: Three more children with symptoms of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) died at a hospital in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district on Friday taking the number of deaths to 139.

According to the Muzaffarpur district administration, all the three deaths were reported from the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, which alone has accounted for 104 casualties since June 1.

The Bihar health department had on Thursday released state-wide figures putting the total number of deaths following the outbreak, which has spread across 16 districts, at 136.

With the latest three casualties the number of deaths rose to 139, though unconfirmed reports claim that the number has crossed 150.

Hundreds of children are admitted to hospitals -- mostly at Muzaffarpur's SKMCH and privately-owned Kejriwal hospital -- for treatment of AES which is characterized by sudden onset of high fever and convulsions.

The high number of deaths this year has been blamed on hypoglycemia or sudden drop in blood sugar levels, which some experts attribute to malnutrition and consumption of unripe litchi -- a fruit grown in abundance in north Bihar -- on an empty stomach and failure to administer glucose within four hours of the onset of fever and other symptoms.

The Muzaffarpur administration said that 13.5 lakh packets of oral rehydration solution (ORS) have been distributed across the district and health workers are carrying out an intensive awareness programme, as part of which 8.5 lakh pamphlets have been distributed.

In Patna, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refused to take queries from journalists when they tried to seek his reaction on the outbreak which had rocked both Houses of parliament.

Kumar was approached with queries outside the state Assembly premises which he had visited to accompany Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who filed his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha by-poll.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Bhai Virendra alleged that Kumar's reproach to photo and video journalists inside the Returning Officer's chamber - when they started leaning on the backs of officials present inside - was "nothing else but giving vent to frustration over his government's inability to control the epidemic and having nothing to say to the media on the issue".

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, who also heads the state BJP unit, told reporters, "Our party has resolved to do its bit and all BJP Lok Sabha members in the state shall be donating Rs 25 lakh to the Sadar hospitals in their respective constituencies for setting up of a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)".

The state BJP office also circulated copies of a letter by Rai, dated June 19, whereby he informed the collector of Samastipur district -- wherein his constituency Ujiyarpur falls -- that he has decided to contribute Rs. 25 lakh from his MPLAD fund for PICU.

The BJP has the highest number of 17 Lok Sabha members in Bihar where the total number of seats is 40.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, at a pre-budget meeting of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with finance ministers of states, raised the issue of AES outbreak and sought a grant of Rs 100 crore for setting up a 100-bed pediatric ICU, a research centre and building a new AIIMS besides upgrading the state's medical colleges to a level comparable with the AIIMS.

Death toll in Muzaffarpur due to encephalitis rises to 104

PATNA, June 18: The number of children who have succumbed to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur rose to 104 on Monday even as the National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Union Health ministry and the State government over the increasing number of deaths due to encephalitis.

Separately, the State government ordered the closure of all schools till June 24 as it tries to minimise the toll from a heatwave that has claimed as many as 90 lives till Monday. In Gaya, the district administration enforced Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure people stay indoors and are not exposed to the blistering heat.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar held meeting with top State and health department officials to take stock of the situation soon after his return from New Delhi. Earlier, Kumar had announced an ex-gratia of ₹4 lakh to the families of those who had died due to encephalitis and heat stroke in the State.

A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is likely to visit Muzaffarpur on Tuesday to monitor the treatment of children hospitalised with AES.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to heat stroke in the districts of the State’s Magadh region including Aurangabad, Nawada, Gaya, Jehanabad, Rohtas and Arrah climbed to almost 90.

“Though there is no official figure on this yet, but, yes not less than 90 people have died in these districts in last four days due to intense heatwave,” said a health department official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Aurangabad and Gaya have been worst hit. State health minister Mangal Pandey visited the government hospital in Gaya and met patients suffering from heat stroke. More than two dozen people have died in Gaya district alone due to the heatwave.

Gaya district magistrate Abhishek Singh also issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 to compel the public to stay indoors in order to avoid the heatwave. The district administration also banned construction and other outdoor activities that involve intense manual labour between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the district. “Any work related to MGNREGA too will not be done after 10:30 a.m.”, the Gaya district administration said in its order.

“Situation in other districts of south-west Bihar too is alarming as government hospitals there are crammed with patients suffering heat stroke,” the health department official added.

For the last four days, south-west parts of Bihar, including Patna, have been reeling under 45° Celsius heat and meteorology department official Anand Shankar told The Hindu over phone that “heatwave is likely to continue in these districts until June 22… after that some rain showers may bring in some relief.”

BJP picks Om Birla for Speaker

NEW DELHI, June 18: The Bharatiya Janata party has named Kota MP Om Birla as its candidate for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. BJP said that they have spoken to the Congress and the party will not oppose Birla's candidature.

Birla is just a second term MP and the BJP leadership ignored many veterans to choose the 56-year-old MP of Kota in Rajasthan. Birla won his first parliamentary election in 2014 and got re-elected from the desert state that the BJP swept despite losing the last year’s assembly election.

Om Birla is a three-term member of Rajasthan assembly, and has worked closely with former chief minister Vasundhara Raje. He was a parliamentary secretary to the government of Rajasthan between 2004 and 2008.

Considered close to Home Minister Amit Shah, Om Birla was also the national vice president of BJP’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, that he had once headed in Rajasthan for six years. Birla has earned for himself the reputation of a social worker who helped differently-abled persons and helpless women.

He led a relief team of more than 100 voluntary workers including doctors to help the victims of Gujarat earthquake in January 2001. He was also imprisoned during movement to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The BJP polled 58.47% votes in Rajasthan, second highest after Himachal Pradesh, and the overwhelming support reflected in the union council of ministers, which has 3 members from the desert state. While Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is a cabinet minister; Arjun Ram Meghwal and Kailash Choudhary are ministers of state in the union government. Birla is the fourth leader from the state to get a ‘position of prominence’, a senior BJP leader said.

“The generational change that happened in the BJP is also reflected in Birla’s appointment,” the leader said. Birla’s predecessor Sumitra Mahajan was 76 and she did not contest election this time. Many other veterans such as Sushma Swaraj, Maneka Gandhi and Suresh Prabhu did not a ministerial position when PM Modi put his new team together.

“Many leaders unknown to Delhi’s power corridor got ministerial position,” a second leader said. “There is a message in it.”

The BJP on Monday appointed 58-year-old Rajya Sabha member JP Nadda – among the GenX leaders of the party – as its working president. He will be formally appointed as party chief after organisational elections are complete in January.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is Congress leader in Lok Sabha

NEW DELHI, June 18: The Congress on Tuesday named Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, its five-time MP from Bengal’s Berhampore as the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, a day after the Budget session of Parliament began.

After a lengthy meeting of the Parliamentary Core Committee in the morning at UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s house, the party wrote to the secretary general of the Lok Sabha, informing him of its decision of entrusting Chowdhury with the responsibility of taking up all matters of the party in Parliament.

Sources said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, Thiravanthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor and Mavelikkara MP Kodikunnil Suresh were also in the running for the post. Party leaders were also keen to have Rahul Gandhi lead in the Parliament.

The 63-year-old Chowdury said he will continue to fight got the Congress. “I have been given this responsibility (the leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha). I was asked to stand in the front. I said okay. I am a foot soldier and foot soldiers stand in front. So I will fight as a foot soldier,” he said.

A party leader said that Chowdhury’s appointment as Lok Sabha floor leader was also necessitated by the need for the party to rebuild itself in the east. “The party’s president is from south India, but the Congress now needs to work on the states in the east,” said the leader. Chowdhury is the party’s lone Lok Sabha MP from West Bengal where Assembly elections are scheduled in 2021.

Although the Congress is the largest party opposition party in the Lok Saba with 52 members, it fell short by three members to be accorded Leader of Opposition status.

Chowdhury has been representing Berhampore since 1999. He is also the president of the Bengal unit of the Congress. The Congress which had won four of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014, managed to win only one this time with Chowdhury retaining his seat.

Chowdhury replaces Mallikarjun Kharge who was the Congress floor leader in the last Lok Sabha . Kharge lost the elections this time from Karnataka’s Gulbarga.

Jaish operative, owner of car used in Pulwama attack, killed in Anantnag encounter

SRINAGAR, June 18: An Army soldier was killed in a gunfight with militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag on Tuesday. Two Jaish-e-Mohammed operatives were also gunned down in the encounter. One of them has been identified as Sajjad Bhat, the owner of the vehicle used in the Pulwama terror attack of February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

Tawseef Ahmed Bhat, who is also linked to the Pulwama attack, was the other militant killed on Tuesday.

Sajjad Bhat of Bijbehara was the owner of the Maruti Eeco, laden with 25kg of explosives, used in the Pulwama terror attack. Investigators of the NIA had said Bhat, a student of a madrasa in Shopian, had been missing a few days before the attack.

The exchange of fire in Marahom village of Anantnag district on Tuesday took place after the joint force had started a cordon and search operation following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the area earlier in the day. The militants fired at the security personnel killing a soldier and injuring two others. The injured have been shifted to a hospital.

The army said that weapons and warlike stores have been found from the encounter site.

The army and other forces have stepped up security across the valley, especially in the militant hotbed of south Kashmir, after the CPRF troopers were killed in the Pulwama strike, which brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

The moves involved changes to protocols for how troops are moved in these areas, with mass movements and repeated use of the same stretch or at predictable timings being identified as vulnerabilities.

On Monday, Major Ketan Sharma from the 44 Rashtriya Rifles was killed and Major Rahul Verma was injured during a gunfight that also left a militant dead in south Kashmir’s Anantnag.

The incident came less than a week after another terror attack in the town that claimed the lives of five Central Reserve Police Force troopers and one police officer.

In a separate incident, around a dozen soldiers were injured when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) ripped through an army patrol in Pulwama district on Monday evening. Two soldiers who were injured in the blast in Arihal succumbed to injuries on Tuesday, the army said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incidents, which come at a time of heightened security over the Amarnath Yatra that is due to begin on July 1.

Security forces have killed 113 militants this year so far, including some top commanders of militant outfits in different parts of Kashmir. After the February attack, more than 85 militants have been killed and 26 security personnel have lost their lives.

Modi sets goal to make India 5 trillion dollar economy

NEW DELHI, June 15: Soon after his return form the SCO summit in Bishkek, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Satuyrday unveiled his vision of the Indian economy in his address at the Niti aayog’s first meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Modi said the goal to make India a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. The PM noted that the task was challenging but achievable.

29 children dead in Bihar due to suspected acute encephalitis

PATNA, June 12: Alarmed over deaths of children in various north Bihar districts due to symptoms akin to that of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), a seven-member team of experts from the central government is arriving here soon to find out exact reasons for the epidemic.

More than 29 children have died in Muzaffapur and its adjoining districts like Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Motihari this season. About 19 deaths in this season were reported from the SKMCH in Muzaffapur alone, while 10 children suffering from the symptoms of AES died at Kejriwal Maternity Clinic (KMC), Muzaffarpur.

Principal secretary (health) Sanjay Kumar said the experts would visit the affected areas to take stock of the situation and suggest effective measures to deal with it. “So far, no death has been confirmed due to Japanese encephalitis (JE). About 80% of the deaths were caused due to hypoglycemia,” he said, adding that as many as 222 primary health centres (PHCs) of 12 districts had been stocked with medicines and equipped with other facilities to treat AES cases.

Following deaths of more than 40 children in 2012 due to similar symptoms, the Centre had set up a group of ministers (GoM) and sent a team of experts.

The experts had a consultation with local medical experts at Patna AIIMS and later stipulated a standard operating practice (SOP) to follow to contain fatalities. The then Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had also visited Bihar.

On Monday, state’s health minister Mangal Pandey also met Vardhan, who is holding the health portfolio in the Union cabinet.

The principal secretary said that pediatric intensive care units had been opened at seven government hospitals, including at Darbhanga, Muzaffapur, Gaya and Patna, to deal with the situation. Additionally, three other government hospitals have also been equipped with PICU to attend to AES affected children.

Modi guarantees brighter India

TIRUPATI, June 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a veiled dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi, saying the top opposition leader could not still come out of the impact of election results which showed “weakness.”

The Prime Minister asserted that his party-led government would further accelerate work for the betterment of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu people though the BJP could not win Lok Sabha polls in these two States.

“Given the huge mandate we got, some people think expectations and aspirations (on the government) have increased.

They also wonder what can Modi do. We should see it as India’s fortune and a great opportunity. I see it as a guarantee for a brighter India,” he said.

Modi addressed a thanks-giving public meeting organized by the Andhra Pradesh BJP at Renigunta near here.

Apparently taking potshots at Rahul Gandhi over his recent comments in Wayanad that Modi’s election campaign was filled with “lies, poison and hatred”, the Prime Minister remarked that some people could not still come out of the impact of election results.

“That is their weakness. For us the chapter of elections has ended. A new chapter of serving the 130 crore people of the country has opened for us,” Modi said.

Noting that strong governments were formed at the Centre as well as in Andhra Pradesh, the Prime Minister wished the state would surge ahead on the development path under the leadership of Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.

“AP has infinite possibilities for growth. We will fully extend all co-operation from the Centre for the development of the state,” the Prime Minister assured.

Modi made a special mention of Tamil Nadu, along with AP, thanking people of the two states for playing a crucial role in strengthening democracy.

“Whether or not we secured victory here, our objective always is to serve the people.

We (BJP) are a dedicated system of workers and I am a part of it. Even after the elections, we will not lower our efforts to ensure happiness of people and betterment of their lives.

We will increase our efforts in this regard at the Centre and will especially show it in AP and Tamil Nadu,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he has confidence in 130 crore Indians.

“With their contribution and support, I am confident we can give a new direction to the country,” he said.

Two good occasions beckoned the country in the near future, Modi pointed out, referring to the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in October 2019 and the 75th anniversary of the nation’s Independence in 2022.

“These are two important occasions that could be inspirational, which the country should not miss.

They give us a chance to recall the sacrifices of the freedom fighters and take a pledge for doing something for the country,” he said.

He sought the blessings of Lord Venkateswara to realise the dreams of 130 crore people of India and said States and the Centre should work together towards this and create a New India.

“When we dream of a New India, we also wish that every state also should progress in the same manner. Only then can we build a New India. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, jisme raajyom ka bhi saath, jan saamanya ka bhi saath.

Jan saamanya ka vikas, rajyom ka vikas. We are moving ahead with that determination towards making this a reality,” Modi said.

“If that happens, I am sure, we will succeed in the right earnest and prosper,” the Prime Minister added.

Observing that winning elections was the aim only in the electoral battlefield, the Prime Minister said winning people’s hearts should be the constant endeavour, “all 365 days a year.” The government, Modi pointed out, should be useful only for building the nation and not the party.

“This is not our nature, nor are we used to it. In the last five years, people have seen a government that is solely committed to the welfare of Bharat Mata.

Hence, they gave us a renewed mandate to serve them for the second time,” he added.

Over 500 men try to force women dancers to strip at cultural event in Assam

GUWAHATI, June 10: A mob of over 500 men allegedly tried to force women dancers of a troupe to strip during a cultural programme in Assam’s Kamrup district, following which police arrested two persons involved in the incident, officials said Sunday.

The two men, Shahrukh Khan and Subahan Khan, were arrested on Sunday after a case was filed on the basis of a complaint registered by the cultural troupe against the organisers of the programme, which was held at a village under Chaygaon Police Station limits.

The dancers of the group were heckled by the spectators who demanded that they strip and dance, according to the FIR. The dancers managed to escape from the programme at Asolpara and their vehicles were also pelted with stones, it added.

It was alleged that the organisers had sold tickets to people at very high rates claiming that the troupe was coming from Coochbehar in West Bengal to perform strip dances on Friday.

Police said further investigations are underway and a hunt is on to nab others involved in the incident.

Outrage as three more minor girls raped in UP, two in MP

LUCKNOW, June 10: A series of heinous crime cases, especially those of rape, with victims being minor girls were reported from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on Sunday, with three cases coming from UP, where people are still in shock after the brutal murder of a three-year-old in Aligarh’s Tappal village.

In the three cases in Uttar Pradesh, a 12-year-old girl was dragged from her house and allegedly gang-raped by six men in Kushinagar district, a 15-year-old was allegedly raped by a teacher inside a seminary in Kanpur, and the unclothed body of seven-year-old girl was found in a field on Sunday in Jalaun.

In Madhya Pradesh, a 10-year-old girl, who went missing from a slum in Bhopal on Saturday night, was raped and murdered, police said. In the second case in MP, a 16-year-old boy was detained for allegedly sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl in a village in Jabalpur district on Sunday.

In UP’s Kushinagar district, six men allegedly dragged a 12-year-old girl out of her home and raped her on Friday evening, the police said on Sunday. The suspects were allegedly embroiled in a dispute with the girl’s family over construction of a drain. A first information report was lodged on Sunday, two days after the incident. Four of the six suspects have been arrested. Two are on the run. The victim was undergoing treatment at a hospital, police said.

Meanwhile, a madrasa teacher allegedly raped a 15-year-old Class 9 student inside a seminary in Kanpur on Sunday.

The alleged rapist was arrested after the victim’s parents approached the police and lodged an FIR. The accused has been charged under POCSO act, apart from charges of rape, the police said.

In Jalaun, the naked body of a seven-year-old girl was found in a field on Sunday, leading to suspicion about possibility of rape. Jalaun superintendent of police (SP) Swami Prasad said a case of murder has been registered on complaint of the girl’s father and the body had been sent for a post-mortem analysis.

In the case from Bhopal, the body of a 10-year-old girl who went missing from a slum on Saturday night was found in a sewer on Sunday morning hardly 20 metres away from her home, said police. According to the post-mortem report, she was strangulated to death after the rape, said police. As many as seven police personnel were suspended after the girl’s family complained that the police did not act promptly on their complaint.

The cases prompted Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati to hit out at the state government. In a statement on Sunday, Akhilesh Yadav said there had been an alarming increase in crime, including rape of minor girls, since the Lok Sabha poll results were declared last month. “Uttar Pradesh has become a crime state,” he said.

“First Aligarh, then in Hamirpur a minor girl was abducted, raped, and murdered. People are unnerved, angry and agitated over the incidents. To prevent such incidents, the society and the government need to be more strict,” Maywati tweeted.

Rape of married woman is different: UP minister

GONDA (Uttar Pradesh), June 10: Water Resources, Forest and Environment Minister Upendra Tiwari on Sunday came out with a new classification of the heinous crime - rape, saying that “rape has its nature and rape of a married woman is different.”

When asked to comment on the incidents of rape in the state, Tiwari, while talking to media persons here, said: “Rape has got its nature. Rape of a minor is rape, but when you come across an incident where a middle-aged woman is raped, it is different.”

The minister’s comment comes at a time when Uttar Pradesh is reeling under a spate of rape incidents, including the killing of two and a half years old girl in Aligarh over some financial dispute. The main accused, Zahid, has been arrested by the police.

Referring to the recent arrest of a journalist for allegedly making ‘objectionable’ statements against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Tiwari said: “The journalists are responsible for what they disseminate in the form of news.”

“Every media person should check the facts before publishing anything on social media. If the woman has any facts to prove her claims, let her show those proofs,” he said.

A freelance journalist, Prashant Kanojia, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday for making certain ‘objectionable comments’ against Chief Minister Adityanath on social media and for ‘spreading rumours.’

He had allegedly uploaded a video on Twitter in which a woman is heard making some claims about Adityanath. Kanojia had posted a comment with the video, that says “Ishq Chhupta Nahi Chhupane Se Yogi ji.”

Kanojia has been booked Sections 500 (defamation), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form).

Nitish Kumar expands cabinet, no space for ally BJP

PATNA, June 2: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday inducted eight new ministers in his cabinet, all from the JD(U). Allies BJP and LJP were left out of the cabinet expansion.

After the cabinet expansion, Nitish Kumar said the BJP was offered a berth but it was not too keen. He tried to play down speculations of a rift between the BJP and the JD(U). “There was large number of vacancies in the JD-U quota. The quota of allies with departments is decided at the very outset. At present only JD-U’s quota has been filled as the house session is on the cards and some key portfolios were vacant. All these portfolios were with JD-U,” he said.

Bihar deputy CM and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi seconded Kumar and said the party was indeed offered a berth. “The BJP decided to fill it in future,” Sushil Modi tweeted.

The Bihar cabinet expansion came just two days after Nitish Kumar opted out of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government after disagreement over berths. The JD(U) was offered a single berth in the Union cabinet but Kumar refused it saying that representation should be proportional to the strength of the parties in Parliament.

The JD(U) chief was present for the oath-taking ceremony of Modi and his ministers on forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.

The JD(U) rules Bihar in alliance with the BJP. The Nitish Kumar-led party had won 16 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, while the BJP won 17. The JD(U) was not part of the Modi government in the last tenure and had walked out of the Congress –Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance in Bihar in 2017 to be part of the NDA.

After the present expansion, three berths have remained vacant – one each of JD-U, BJP and the LJP. JD-U had nine vacancies and it has now filled eight of them. Bihar can have a maximum of 36 ministers, including the CM, as per the House strength. As per the provision, the cabinet strength in no case can exceed 15% of the strength of the Legislative Assembly.

In the new expansion, first since Kumar switched over from grand alliance to NDA, caste calculations have been kept in mind with two berths each going to upper castes, backwards, EBCs and Dalits. The caste configuration is apparently aimed at getting the equation right for 2020 assembly polls. Bima Bharti is the sole woman in the Nitish cabinet. After the resignation of former social welfare minister Manju Verma last year, there was no woman in the cabinet.

Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers at Raj Bhavan. This is the second time in two years when Nitish Kumar expanded his cabinet. On July 29, 2017, he has inducted 27 ministers from all three NDA constituents, the JD(U), the BJP and the LJP.


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