WHILE A second central intelligence agency raided the premises of a Lalu Prasad family member within 24 hours, JD(U) leaders on Saturday said that the party is in no “hurry to take any important decision at this stage”. This comes even as BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi asserted that Nitish should show the same “moral courage and authority” and make Tejashwi resign — like he had done earlier by making ministers under cloud of corruption to quit.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday searched premises connected to Lalu’s daughter, RJD MP Misa Bharti. The development comes a day after CBI raids on Lalu family members’ premises, as well as an FIR against the RJD chief, his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi, and son Tejashwi, the deputy CM in the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance government.
While JD(U) leaders admitted that they are expecting a “turbulent” monsoon session over the issue, RJD leaders made it clear that there is no question of Tejashwi’s resignation since the CBI case is a result of “political vendetta” by the BJP. While Nitish Kumar remained quiet, and has reportedly not given his party leaders any hint on his immediate political plans, a senior JD(U) leader said, “What could be a better situation for us than to see our senior alliance partner (RJD) listen to us? The RJD has asserted itself at times in the past by trying to project Tejashwi as the CM face, but it is on the back foot now and faces a hostile Central government. It would not be good for us to show aggression. We continue to enjoy an upper hand, and it suits as well.”
Stating that Nitish will not take any decision in haste, the leader ruled out chances of any impending turbulence in Bihar’s Grand Alliance. Another JD(U) leader said that although they cannot defend RJD on matters of corruption, the BJP’s demand for Tejashwi’s resignation is unwarranted. “There have been many instances of ministers continuing to serve even after chargesheets were filed against them,” the leader said.
Asserting that the Bihar alliance will “last its full term”, RJD national spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha said, “Lalu Prasad has only emerged stronger after all this. He has been a victim of political vendetta.” But counting the number of occasions in past when Nitish had made his ministers embroiled in criminal cases to quit, Sushil Modi, who was Nitish’s deputy when the latter was an NDA constituent until 2013, told The Sunday Express: “He had asked then SC/ST minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to resign within hours of being made a minister in November 2005. Nitish Kumar was very particular about pending corruption cases against ministers — he often told us that corruption and political cases are different.”
In 2008, he said, Nitish got resignation of Transport minister Ramanand Singh following a pending case of political agitation. “In 2010, he sacked his Excise minister Jamshed Ashraf when he made allegations of corruption against the CM secretariat in an alleged excise scam. And in 2011, he had asked Cooperative minister Ramadhar Singh to resign because he was found absconder in an old case.”
In 2014, the BJP leader said, Nitish got another minister, Awadhesh Kushwaha, to quit following a sting operation in which he was purportedly heard promising favour against money. Maintaining its aggressive counter to the BJP, the RJD on Saturday took a dig at the saffron party on Twitter, “Saath aayenge Maya-Akhilesh, hawa mein ud jaayenge jumlesh, Lalu Yadav ke isi project 2019 se BJP me khalbali hai.. chhapa to padna hi tha (If Mayawati and Akhilesh come together, those giving lofty slogans will evaporate in thin year. BJP has been upset with this 2019 project and hence, CBI raids had to happen)”.