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Bihar Minister Facing Abduction Charges Loses Law Portfolio, Gets Sugarcane Dept

Bihar Law Minister Kartik Kumar will be swapping portfolios with sugarcane minister Shamim Ahmed.

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India
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The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Wednesday, 31 August, changed the portfolio of its law minister Kartik Kumar, whose induction despite alleged involvement in a case of kidnapping had drawn heavy opposition fire.

According to a notification issued by cabinet secretariat department, Kartik Kumar will be swapping portfolios with sugarcane minister Shamim Ahmed.

An RJD MLC who is said to be close to controversial former Mokama MLA Anant Kumar Singh, Kartik is understood to have been chosen by his party as part of RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav's outreach towards Bhunihars, a powerful upper caste largely sympathetic towards BJP.

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The BJP, which lost power in the upheaval the state witnessed earlier this month, raised hell over Kartik's induction despite his name figuring in a 2014 abduction case.

State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal reacted to the reshuffle with disdain.

"Nitish Kumar is demonstrating that he can get people framed in cases and offer them protection if they become loyal to him. He had extended such a favour to (RJD president) Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi. He is now doing the same to Kartik," Jaiswal alleged.

State Congress spokesman Asit Nath Tiwari hit back, saying "why have a problem with a cabinet reshuffle in Bihar? Nobody had a problem when Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed portfolios of Union ministers like Piyush Goyal and Smriti Irani".

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