A DAY before a crucial JD(U) meeting of the party’s legislators in Bihar to discuss the current political situation, Bihar BJP president Nityanand Rai created a flutter on Monday by “offering BJP’s outside support” to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar if he decides to walk out of the Grand Alliance. Rai soon retracted his statement and said that it is for the party’s central leadership to take a call on such key matters.
The BJP leader had told a news channel in New Delhi about the BJP’s “outside support offer”. He later said: “What I meant was, let Nitish Kumar first take a decision on snapping ties with the Grand Alliance. Our central leadership can take a call on it (subsequently).” He said that the Nitish Kumar-led alliance is going through a turbulent phase and the BJP, as the principal opposition party in the state, is keeping a watch on the situation.
The BJP is putting pressure on Nitish to get deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav to resign after the CBI booked the latter in a corruption case — along with his father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and mother and former CM Rabri Devi, among others. Dismissing assertions by RJD and the Congress, among other parties, that the BJP is trying to destabilise the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance in Bihar by wooing Nitish, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi claimed, “The Grand Alliance is crumbling under Lalu Prasad’s burden of corruption.”.
Union minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan, another NDA ally, said, “Nitish should decide if he wants to remain sushashan babu (Mr Governance) or with a tainted leader such as Lalu.” Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi said, “He (Nitish) made me resign within five hours of taking oath as a minister in 2005 following a pending case. Why can he not show the same moral authority by asking Tejashwi to resign,” Manjhi, also in NDA, asked.