At NDA’s swearing-in ceremony, Sushil Modi looked dejected

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Patna, Nov 16 (PTI) Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who has not been retained in the new Bihar dispensation after serving as the deputy chief minister for close to 15 years, attended the swearing-in ceremony of new NDA government on Monday but looked aloof in the crowd of new MLAs.

A 14-member council of ministers headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was administered the oath of office at the Raj Bhavan here by Governor Phagu Chauhan.

Sushil Modi, who has been Nitish Kumar’s deputy in all the NDA government he has led in Bihar, was not among the 14. He was invited for the swearing-in ceremony though, and he came, but did not look his usual self. Otherwise a vibrant politician, Sushil Modi watched, not betraying much emotions, as Kumar and others were administered the oath of office.

The BJP has replaced Sushil Modi as the deputy chief minister, bringing in two new faces for the post – multiple-term BJP MLAs Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi.

At one point of time, Kumar spotted his long-term deputy and asked him to come near him. The two walked together for some distance, much to the glee of the paparazzi, but their paths were different this time and they separated.

Kumar and Sushil Modi's pair as CM and Deputy CM since 2005, barring a 20-month gap when Kumar was in alliance with the RJD, has been the hallmark of the ruling coalition in the state.

The smooth sail of the successive JD(U)-BJP governments in the state has, to a large extent, been attributed to the good chemistry the two leaders shared. However, this rapport was resented by a section of his Sushil Modi’s own partymen who would have otherwise confronted the JD(U) boss on some issues. Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh had recently compared their partnership with the successful opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in cricket.

But all that is past now as the saffron party leadership thought differently this time and replaced Sushil Modi as the deputy chief minister.

When mediapersons approached Sushil Modi for his comments on the swearing-in, he refused to say anything, unlike until recent days when he was ready with a viewpoint on any political subject.

After the ceremony ended, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief J P Nadda, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and others went inside the Raj Bhavan for refreshments, Sushil Modi left immediately.

When reporters asked Kumar about Sushil Modi, he said 'It’s BJP‘s decision as who will be their ministers.' In reply to a question as whether the new government should have utilised Sushil Modi's vast experience in governance, Kumar said 'This question should be asked to BJP leaders.' Later, Sushil Modi, an avid social media user, took to Twitter to congratulate Kumar and all new ministers through a series of posts in Hindi.

'Congratulation Nitish Kumar on becoming the chief minister for the seventh time. Bihar will march ahead under your leadership. Bihar will keep getting cooperation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.' Though, there is no word from the BJP on the next assignment for Sushil Modi, there are talks in the political circles he has been dropped from the ministry as a part of the party’s plans to chart an independent course in Bihar, moving away from the perception of playing second fiddle to the JD(U) all these years in the NDA. PTI SNS ANW TIR TIR