PATNA: It’s a ‘Nitish-on-the-wall’ scenario in Bihar right now as the Chief Minister has given the scam tainted son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is currently serving as the deputy CM, four days to voluntarily resign from the post before he cracks the whip. The alliance, he however claimed, was intact.
There’s a growing clamour for Tejaswi to step down from his ministerial post after the CBI booked him and his father Lalu Prasad for ‘rigging’ maintanence contracts of Railways’ hotels. The probe has strained the relationship within the ruling coalition government.
Senior JD(U) leaders held a meeting at Nitish Kumar’s residence on Tuesday and in an hour-long address, the Chief Minister made it clear that he would not compromise his government’s “zero-tolerance” policy towards corruption. “The Chief Minister expects Tejaswi, who has been named in the CBI FIR, to resign by himself in the best interest of the grand alliance government,” said party sources. “Our party expects those facing allegations to put their defence with documentary evidence in the people’s court and before the media,” said JD(U) spokesperson Niraj Kumar.
Sources added that Nitish had spoken to Lalu over phone on Sunday night and had given time till Saturday (July 15) for his younger son to resign from the government. “A decision would be taken by the CM after four days,” said senior leader Ramai Ram after the meeting. Kumar is also reported to have told four senior leaders of his party on Monday that Tejaswi’s removal from Cabinet was “just a matter of time.” If Tejaswi doesn’t resign, the Chief Minister himself would seek his resignation, said another senior leader.
Nitish, however, made it clear that he doesn’t want the grand alliance government to fall over the issue. “He said the law would be allowed to do its work while the government would do its work. The alliance would continue,” said legislator Rajkishore Kushwaha.
The development sent RJD leaders scurrying to its chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s residence. They waited for their leader’s return from Ranchi where he appeared in court over the fodder scam case. The party had ‘unanimously’ said on Monday that there was no question of Tejaswi resigning from his post.
While the BJP’s State wing had said that it would extend outside support to Nitish if Lalu pulls out, the party’s Central leadership denied it on Tuesday. However, sources told Express that the Bihar unit chief was ‘cautioned’ not to speak on matters which require concurrence of the Central leadership.