Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday retained the key home portfolio while giving the crucial finance ministry to his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, in an indication of the newly-elected NDA government's intent to control the state's spiralling crime-graph and pull it out of the financial mire.
"The talent and expertise of the ministers were taken into account while allocating portfolios so that those could be optimally utilised for the state's development," he told reporters.
Nitish said he wanted his government to have a clean image and it was reflected in the resignation of Jitan Ram Manjhi even before he could assume office as he was facing a case in the bachelor of education scam.
"We want to give Bihar a good, forward-looking and transparent government," he said.
By keeping the Home ministry, Nitish, who distributed portfolios among his 25 ministers after holding several marathon rounds of consultations, has apparently sought to send the message across that he means business.
By retaining the personnel portfolio, the chief minister has also made it clear that he wants to have a direct and complete control over the state's bureaucracy, often accused of being pliant and corrupt.
Finance, institutional finance and commercial taxes portfolio had been alloted to Modi, who will be expected to not only curtail unnecessary state expenditure but also augment internal resource mobilisation to shore up the state's economy.
Nitish, who has often stressed the need for infrastructure development to attract outside investment, which has reportedly come down to a trickle, has alloted road construction to his senior cabinet colleague and National Democratic Alliance Convenor Nand Kishore Yadav and energy to state Janata Dal (United) President Bijendra Prasad Yadav, who held the ministry under Lalu Prasad.
Interestingly, all the ten ministers of state have been given independent charge.
The NDA, which came to power breaking Rashtriya Janata Dal's 15-year-old stranglehold on Bihar on the promise to free the laggard state of crime and bring it back on path to development and progress, has the task clearly cut out for it.
Bihar has been beset with serious law and order problems, including Naxalism, which was manifest in an ominous form in the audacious November 13 night attack in Jehanabad.
Complete Coverage: The Bihar Polls