After consultations with JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav, Chief Minister Kumar and senior leaders, the party decided to make Khan its candidate from Sheohar in place of Ali, who was expelled for anti-party activities recently, state JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh said.
Khan, the lone Muslim in the Nitish Kumar government, holds the Minority Welfare and IT portfolios.
He was elected to the Assembly from Sursand seat in Sitamarhi district and contiguous to the Sheohar Lok Sabha seat.
Khan would file his nomination papers from Sheohar on April 17, Singh said. Earlier, the SSB had sent a note to the Bihar police asking it to verify Khan’s alleged contact with two suspected IM operatives based in the minister’s home district of Sitamarhi.
In a quick damage control exercise, the Bihar Police had given a clean chief to the JD(U) minister on the basis of reports by the police chiefs of East Champaran and Sitamarhi districts.
After the opposition created a ruckus in the state legislature during the brief budget session last month, the minister had famously said “My name is Khan, but I am not a terrorist.”
The chief minister had strongly defended the minister and slammed the central paramilitary force for making unsubstantiated charges and rebuked it for not following proper procedure in the matter.