PATNA: Earlier in the day ally and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday resolutely said that his younger son and Bihar deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav would not resign despite the corruption case registered against him by the CBI.
Even as he said Bihar’s ruling grand alliance of RJD, JD(U) and Congress stands strong and that he would not take any step to harm the government, Lalu Prasad Yadav made it clear that Nitish Kumar must take the crisis facing Tejaswi Yadav in his stride and keep running the government.
“Tejaswi Yadav will not resign. Nitish Kumar, who is the leader of the alliance, has not asked for Tejaswi’s resignation. Tejaswi and I will speak (on CBI’s charges) where it is necessary,” said Lalu Prasad Yadav after a meeting of RJD legislators. “I speak with Nitish regularly. We spoke last night, too,” he told journalists.
“Our government has the mandate for five years. There will be no effort from us (RJD) to make it collapse,” said Lalu Prasad Yadav. “If he (Nitish) does not want to carry the burden (RJD), he is free to step down,” he added.
Commenting on JD(U) spokespersons’ repeated demands that Tejaswi Yadav clarifies his charges in the public forum, a miffed RJD chief asked: “Is JD(U) the police?”
In a subtle show of RJD’s numerical supremacy in the grand alliance, Lalu Prasad Yadav said it is RJD that made Nitish Kumar the CM and that the party would not tolerate any disrespect for him. In Bihar’s 243-member Assembly, RJD has 80, JD(U) 27 and Congress 27 MLAs. The Opposition BJP has 53 MLAs and five allies.
Tejaswi Yadav, 28, also said Nitish Kumar has not asked him to resign. “I met him (CM) recently and we keep talking. The grand alliance and the government are united. It is BJP that is spreading misinformation and trying hard to topple the government in order to come to power without the people’s mandate,” he said.
“Lalujee won a disproportionate assets case in the Supreme Court. There are various other cases against him. Bihar’s people knew all these cases. Yet they voted for the alliance of Lalujee, Nitish Kumar and Sonia Gandhi. They rejected the BJP,” added Tejaswi Yadav.
BJP is speaking nonstop on sub judice matters in order to influence the investigation, but the people know its ploys, he added.
These developments, just two days before Bihar Assembly’s monsoon session begins, took JD(U) by surprise, especially since Nitish Kumar has not made any statement on the issue since Tejaswi Yadav and his parents were booked on July 6. At a meeting of JD(U) legislators at Nitish Kumar’s residence in the evening, RJD’s rigid stand was the topic of discussion.
Adding to JD(U)’s woes were outbursts by former Rajya Sabha member and top Lalu Yadav loyalist Shivanand Tiwari who had in earlier on Wednesday targeted Nitish Kumar.
I know Nitish Kumar and his so-called clean image for the past forty years. If the drama of his zero-tolerance policy towards corruption goes ahead, many buried matters will emerge and he will find it hard to answer them, Shivanand Tiwari told journalists.
“During the Uttar Pradesh elections, Nitish Kumar wanted discussions with Om Prakash Chautala and Ajit Singh’s parties for an alliance. Chautala was already convicted and sentenced to ten years in jail,” added Tiwari.
On JD(U) still insisting on clarifications from Tejaswi Yadav, he said: “Has CBI outsources this task to JD(U)?”
His outbursts drew sharp criticism from JD(U). Tiwari suffers some grave mental illness and belongs in a big mental asylum. It seems the task of destabilising the grand alliance has been outsourced to him, said JD(U) chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said, “We will decide our strategy after both JD(U) and RJD make their stands clear. We demand Tejaswi Yadav’s removal from the state cabinet. We demand a clear answer from the CM. We will raise the issue both inside and outside the Assembly”.