Hours after assuming office as Education Minister of Bihar, Mewalal Chaudhary resigns in the face of corruption charges

Published : November 20, 2020 11:33 IST

Mewalal Choudhary, JD (U) MLA. Photo: By Special Arrangement

The Nitish Kumar government, which was sworn in on November 16, is in the thick of a controversy as Education Minister Mewalal Choudhary tendered his resignation hours after he assumed office on November 19. His resignation came in the wake of the opposition parties pointing out his alleged involvement in a graft case and opposing his induction in the Cabinet.

Mewalal Choudhary, a Janata Dal (United) MLA from Tarapur, was expelled from the party in 2017 after a first information report (FIR) was lodged against him. He was accused of irregularities in the appointment of Assistant Professors and Junior Scientists at the Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) in Bhagalpur when he was its Vice Chancellor.

Mewalal Choudhary’s difficulties grew after Amitabh Kumar Das, a former IPS officer, wrote a letter to the Director General of Police (DGP) on November17, seeking a probe into the mysterious death of Mewalal Choudhary’s wife Neeta Choudhary on June 2, 2019. Amitabh Das said Neeta Choudhary, who was also an MLA, might have known about corruption in the university.

Mewalal Choudhary’s resignation came after a 30-minute closed-door meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on October 19. The opposition, which had been attacking the government over his induction in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, upped the ante after his resignation.

Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, said: “Nitish Kumar is the real culprit. Why did he make a corrupt person the Minister? You acted against the mandate and now doing drama by asking him to resign.” Kunal Parvez, State secretary, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), called Mewalal’s resignation a victory of the people. “The government has to bow down to pressure of the public,” he said.

Ashok Chaudhary, Building Construction Minister, was given the additional charge of the Education Department on October 19.

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