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Who Are Samrat Choudhary And Vijay Sinha, Newly Appointed Bihar Deputy Chief Ministers?

It is believed the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Nitish Kumar’s preferred choice for the Deputy Chief Minister was Sushil Kumar Modi, who has previously served many years alongside him.

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Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha with Bihar BJP president Samrat Choudhary Photo: Getty Images
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has chosen two of its prominent leaders from Bihar, Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Sinha, as deputies to Nitish Kumar as he starts his ninth term as the Chief Minister of Bihar. 

It is believed that Nitish's preferred choice for the Deputy CM position was Sushil Kumar Modi, who has previously served many years alongside him, according to NDTV. However, it was unclear whether Modi was open to the idea of becoming the Deputy CM of Bihar again.

Modi and Nitish's close relationship developed over the years and remained cordial even when the two parties grew estranged. 

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Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday stated that the BJP's doors were "closed" for Nitish but the ultimate decision lay with the party. Modi, however, had hinted at a potential reconciliation, stating that decisions would be made as needed, emphasising that in politics, "no door is permanently closed in politics".

While Modi maintained a close and supportive relationship with Nitish during their years working together so much so that he was labelled as "Nitish Kumar's man", a similar kind of relationship with the newly elected deputy CMs doesn’t seem to be on the cards for Kumar.

Who are Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Sinha?

Samrat Choudhary, belonging to the Kushwaha caste, has served as the BJP's face for the OBC community in Bihar, similar to Nitish's role for the JD (U). He is also the Bihar state unit chief.

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Choudhury has swiftly climbed the ranks within the BJP since joining the party seven years ago. His appointment as the Deputy CM comes as the party aims to change its image, moving away from being perceived as primarily supporting the upper caste.

Last July, Choudhury had a sharp exchange with Nitish when the latter asked him why he wore a turban. Choudhary snapped back, "this is my resolve, to remove you from the post of Chief Minister."

Choudhary and Nitish have had several disagreements over the years and don't exactly see eye to eye. In May 2023, Choudhary criticised Nitish for denying him permission to visit party leader Jawahar Prasad in Sasaram jail. Choudhary accused Kumar of releasing “goons” and arresting “saints”.

In March, Choudhary said, “People of Bihar are fed up with Nitish Kumar and he has become a non-entity in Bihar’s politics. The way he has cheated the people of Bihar, voters will teach him a lesson.”

Choudhary also accused Nitish of plundering the state for 18 years in May last year criticising him for initiating the prohibition policy while allegedly facilitating the opening of liquor shops in every panchayat and doorstep liquor delivery.

According to Deccan Herald, a senior BJP leader said, “He (Samrat Chaudhary) has made his place in the party by taking on Nitish over the years, and elevation will ensure that he will be rewarded as well as keep the BJP on equal footing with the JDU in the alliance.”

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Vijay Sinha is the legislature party leader of the BJP and the other Deputy CM. He previously served as the Speaker of the Bihar assembly from November 2020 to August 2022 during the JDU-BJP government.

“Sinha’s elevation will help us keep the upper caste votes in check,” the BJP leader told Deccan Herald.

Sinha, a civil engineer and former RSS worker, became the BJP's first-ever Speaker in Bihar in 2020 through their alliance with the JD(U). His three consecutive terms as MLA and previous role as labour resources minister played a key role in his appointment.

As the speaker, Sinha was known for standing his ground and not yielding to pressure from Nitish or the Opposition. In a March 2022 dispute with Nitish, Sinha defended his right to raise government-probed matters in the assembly.

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