RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Friday said his son Tejashwi Yadav would not resign as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and dared anyone to break the grand alliance. “Tejashwi Yadav istifa nahi denge. FIR darj hone se koi istifa nahi deta hai (Tejashwi Yadav will not resign. No one resigns because of an FIR),” Lalu said after a meeting with RJD legislators.
He said the decision was of the RJD legislators. “RJD ki or se gatbandhan mein koi aaanch nahi aayega, jisko jo karna hai kar le (There will not any problem to the Grand Alliance from the RJD. Let anyone do what he wants),” he said. Earlier in the day, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) had said that RJD legislators should “stop boasting about its 80 MLAs” and Lalu should come clean on the source of his and his family’s assets, which is now a cause of tension between the two parties.
Multiple JD(U) spokespersons took swipes at the RJD on a day Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke to Nitish. The Congress, JD(U) and the RJD are the constituents of the Grand Alliance government ruling Bihar. Sonia and Nitish were expected to discuss the current political situation at a time the JD(U) has supported the NDA’s Presidential candidate and Lalu and his family are mired in charges of property accumulation and CBI searches.
JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi called the talks between Sonia and Nitish a “happy sign” but the party’s Bihar leaders went on the offensive to mount pressure on Lalu’s son,Tejashwi, to resign. The JD(U) spokespersons in Bihar seemed miffed about RJD MLA Virendra Kumar’s Thursday statement that the “RJD being a party of 80 MLAs would do what it wants”.
Party spokesperson Sanjay Singh told The Indian Express: “The RJD should have known that when it fought alone in the 2010 Assembly elections, it was reduced to a 22-MLA party. It is only because of Nitish Kumar’s clean image that the Grand Alliance got 178 seats in the 2015 Assembly polls and RJD got 80 seats. The RJD must not be under any illusion of its make-believe and inflated strength.”
Another JD (U) spokesperson, Neeraj Kumar, said: “Those who are facing a CBI case must disclose their assets and also reveal their sources. This alone can be a befitting answer to the Opposition.” A section of RJD leaders had reportedly floated an idea that all RJD ministers would resign if Tejashwi did to express solidarity with the Lalu family and the party would offer outside support to Nitish. Another set of RJD leaders has dropped the name of Lalu’s daughter Rohini Acharya being inducted in the cabinet if Tejashwi is forced to resign.
The BJP, which has been watching the situation in Bihar with interest, said Nitish “must make his stand clear”. Former Bihar Assembly Opposition leader Nand Kishore Yadav said: “There is a political ambiguity in Bihar. We are looking forward to hear from Nitish, who has often taken a bold stand on such issues in the past.”