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Ahead of PM's visit, Nitish Kumar and BJP are at loggerheads again

Land Reforms Department minister Ram Surat Rai is fuming over his decision to transfer and depute over 140 officials of the revenue and land reforms department was vetoed by Chief Minister's Office. The minister, however, admitted that many were granted transfers out of turn following requests made personally or through some MLA.

Ahead of PM's visit, Nitish Kumar and BJP are at loggerheads again
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Patna, First Published Jul 11, 2022, 9:38 AM IST

Bihar alliance partners, Bharatiya Janata Partry and the Janata Dal-United seem to be heading for a showdown over transfers and postings after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar put on hold a bulk of transfers and postings cleared by a BJP minister. Nitish's action came following allegations of irregularities.

The latest confrontation comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's July 12 visit to Patna to participate in the centenary celebration of 100 years of the state legislature building. 

Land Reforms Department minister Ram Surat Rai is fuming over his decision to transfer and depute over 140 officials of the revenue and land reforms department was vetoed by Chief Minister's Office. 

The hold from the CMO came after media reports claimed that some officials were given plum postings despite facing corruption charges. Reports also claimed that many officials were transferred despite having served for less than three years at their current deputation.

Even though the minister denied the allegations of favouring tainted officials, he admitted that many were granted transfers out of turn following requests made personally or through some MLA.

"I exercised the powers vested in me as the minister to clear the transfers and postings. We ministers are also public representatives. We have to act on requests when some official sends a word through an MLA or approaches us directly, seeking a posting in a district that close to the place where his or her spouse is working," Rai said.

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Even though he understood the "special privilege" the chief minister has, Rai minced no words in describing the "thes" (hurt) he felt over being overruled.

When asked if he feared losing his ministerial berth over the allegations of irregularities, the minister snapped, saying, "this chair is not somebody's ancestral property. I wish the government the best of luck in finding someone more worthy than me if it thinks I do not deserve to continue."

Further prodded on whether BJP ministers in the cabinet felt 'dabaav' (pressure), Rai said with a swagger, "People in BJP do not know how to buckle under pressure."

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