Indian environment minister resigns in shake-up

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NEW DELHI (AP) - India's environment minister resigned in a government shake-up Saturday, as the governing Congress party prepares for next year's national elections.

The country's oil and gas minister, M. Veerappa Moily, will take over the environment portfolio, according to the office of President Pranab Mukherjee, who accepted Jayanthi Natarajan's resignation.

The shift came two weeks after the Congress party's defeat in four key state elections, including the capital, Delhi. Voters were seeking to punish the party for India's persistent, systematic graft, marked by high-level corruption scandals and low-level bribery.

India is due to hold general elections by May 2014, and the government could ask more high-ranking officials to redirect their efforts toward campaigning ahead of the polls.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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