PATNA: Beset by a host of political and legal crises facing them, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members on Monday sought divine intervention for a respite even as Tejaswi Yadav nonchalantly dismissed growing calls for his resignation as Bihar’s deputy chief minister.
“That (likelihood of resignation) is only in the media’s mind,” said Tejaswi, the 28-year-old younger son of the RJD chief, to journalists after he cast his vote for the Presidential poll along with other legislators. The statement, his first public response on the politically complicated issue, indicated that he was not going to put in his papers any day soon.
Ever since he was named in an FIR registered by CBI in a case of alleged corruption on July 6, the Yadav scion has been under tremendous pressure to resign and risks being sacked by chief minister Nitish Kumar of JD(U).
The RJD chief, who has resisted calls by ally JD(U) for Tejaswi’s resignation, organised a special worship of Lord Shiva at his residence in the morning. With the day carrying significance in the auspicious Hindu month of Shravan as the second Monday, the Yadav family organised “Rudrabishek,” an elaborate worship of Lord Shiva, at Rabri Devi’s 10 Circular Road residence in Patna.
Tejaswi, his elder brother and Bihar health minister Tej Pratap Yadav, their eldest sister and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti, Lalu and Rabri Devi participated in the rituals that reportedly lasted for five hours. Three priests conducted the rituals that RJD leaders believe would help disperse the dense clouds enveloping the Yadav household after raids by CBI and ED on the Lalu-Rabri residence and premises linked Misa Bharti.
Minutes after Tejaswi dismissed speculations about his impending resignation, a senior JD(U) legislator said CM Nitish Kumar, who is the JD(U) national president, would sack him if he does not resign. “He (Tejaswi) has to resign. If he does not, he would be sacked,” said Shyam Bahadur Singh, the MLA from Barharia in Siwan district.
“Even if the alliance falls apart, it will not be bad. We (JD-U) loved the experience of working with BJP,” said Singh, referring to the JD(U)-BJP alliance government in Bihar between 2005 and 2013. “Lalu has been putting pressure on Nitish Kumar since the beginning on a number of matters,” he added. In an apparent reference to Tejaswi and Tej Pratap as “children,” He said: “It does not feel good to work with children”.
Singh’s statements sparked protests from RJD. “He (Singh) is not fit to be an MLA,” said RJD legislator Bhai Birendra, alluding to controversies Singh sparked earlier by dancing with nautch girls.
Sources said while Lalu has made up his mind to ensure Tejaswi’s resignation before Nitish sacks him, it is Rabri Devi, herself a former CM of Bihar, who is opposed to the idea. “She is convinced that Nitish, despite his reputation and clean image, would not sack Tejaswi,” said an RJD leader.
Congress leaders urged both Lalu and Nitish to have a dialogue on the issue. “If the two leaders sit for a discussion, the issue will be resolved in minutes,” said Congress MLC Dilip Chaudhary.
“If he (Tejaswi) does not resign, the CM should sack him immediately. By refusing to resign, he is challenging the CM’s authority,” said senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.