In visible signs of escalating tension within the Grand Alliance in Bihar, the Janata Dal (United) on Friday took an apparent dig at alliance partner RJD, saying that the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led party should not boast about having 80 MLAs and pointing out that they would have won the 2015 assembly elections without incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s face.
The latest development comes a day after the RJD stiffened its stance despite growing calls for Tejashwi to resign after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named him in an FIR on charges of corruption and cheating. RJD MLA Virendra Kumar had insisted they would listen only to party chief Lalu Prasad. “We have 80 MLAs and our leader is Lalu Prasad. What the JD(U) says or wants to convey does not matter to us. We have decided not to entertain any demand of Tejashwiji’s resignation. He has been a victim of BJP’s conspiracy.”
Earlier in the day, RJD leader Manoj Jha ruled out the possibility of Tejashwi resigning from his position. “There is no question of him resigning, party is not even discussing it,” Jha was quoted as saying by ANI.
JD(U) is also likely to take a call on the matter after the party’s forthcoming national executive meeting in Delhi. During his trip to Delhi, Nitish Kumar is likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi. It is learnt that the JD(U) expects the Congress to convince the RJD to soften its stance. Speaking to the The Indian Express, JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi had said, “We are preparing for the party’s national executive meeting in Delhi on July 22-23. While our agenda is already decided, current political issues would also be taken up. Nitish Kumar might also meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi. We expect the Congress to intervene in the Bihar matter as it is our ally too.”
Tyagi had also stated that the Grand Alliance had been placed under Nitish Kumar’s “leadership and image”. “There has to be a serious attempt by all stakeholders in the Grand Alliance to find a way out of the impasse. There is no question of Nitishji compromising with his moral authority,” said Tyagi. As of now, the Congress has backed the RJD against the CBI and ED raids. Earlier in the day, Tyagi had dismissed reports of a possible split in the alliance.
On Tuesday, JD(U) had asked Tejashwi to come clean on the matter. A day after, the Bihar deputy CM virtually ruled out his resignation and described the FIR registered against him under various anti-graft provisions as “political vendetta.” “The FIR (in land-for-hotels case) is part of a political vendetta. BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are conspiring against me and family members out of political reasons,” Tejashwi had told reporters after coming out of a cabinet meeting.
Last week, the CBI had registered a case against the former Railways minister, Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and his son Tejashwi Yadav on corruption charges during his tenure as Union minister in 2006. The investigative agency had carried out raids at 12 locations, including the premises of the RJD chief, in Delhi, Patna, Ranchi, Puri and Gurgaon.
The case is related to alleged discrepancies in tenders allotted to a private company Sujata Hotels for development, maintenance and operation of two IRCTC hotels at Ranchi and Puri when Lalu Prasad was Railway minister.