Holding his first press conference after being sworn in as the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar on Monday said he tried hard to save the Grand Alliance or the Mahagathbandhan, but things were getting difficult for him after corruption charges were levelled against RJD leaders, including Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav who was the deputy chief minister. “I didn’t have a choice as I tolerated everything. I thought this happens in an alliance,”said Kumar.
The chief minister said he had requested the RJD leaders several times to come clean on the corruption charges and explain them to public. “But it didn’t happen,” added Kumar. “There were corruption charges and cases were filed by the CBI (against Lalu Prasad and family). I had only told them to come out with proper answers. Instead they made fun of me saying whether I was a CBI official or the police,” he told reporters.
Hitting out at the RJD for repeatedly accusing him of being hand in glove with the BJP even when the grand alliance was intact, Kumar said they would hint at a JDU-BJP tie-up every time a raid took place on their properties. “When the raids happened first, BJP was congratulated about a new ally through tweets, then explained within 40 mins, but what was its impact,” asked Kumar.
“Laluji did not give any clarification on corruption charges. How could I remain silent as I talked about zero tolerance on corruption? Now I have a feeling that they did not have a proper answer,” he said.
He maintained he never approached the BJP but the offer for an alliance came from the party’s top leadership. “The proposal came from BJP’s top leadership. Prime Minister also tweeted about it,” said Kumar.
Responding to the criticism over deserting a “secular alliance” and joining a “communal force”, which he had attacked in the past, Kumar said, “Secularism ka chaadar odh karke log sampati arjit karen, yahin matlab hai secularism ka? (To make illegal properties in the veil of secularism, is that what secularism means?)
He asserted that had the RJD leaders explained the corruption charges in public, the alliance would have survived. “I had asked to explain the corruption allegations, had they done that the situation could have been different,” said Kumar.
In a dramatic move last week, Nitish Kumar resigned as the chief minister and broke the JDU-RJD alliance in Bihar, only to be sworn in again with the BJP support. Senior BJP leader Sushil Modi replaced Tejashwi Yadav as the deputy chief minister.
The decision to tie up with BJP, however, didn’t go down well with several JDU leaders including Sharad Yadav who believed the end of “grand alliance” in Bihar was very “unpleasant” and “unfortunate”.
The RJD also filed two PILs in the Patna High Court against the formation of new JDU-BJP government in Bihar. However, the petitions was rejected by the court.