Fissures appeared to deepen within Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance on Saturday as Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav skipped a function where he had to share dais with CM Nitish Kumar in Patna. Bihar seems to be heading towards a political crisis as alliance partners Janata Dal (United) and RJD have been sparring over the demand for the resignation of Tejashwi after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against him on corruption charges. While RJD chief and Tejashwi’s father Lalu Prasad Yadav ruled out his younger son’s resignation, JD(U) maintained that Lalu should come clean on the source of his and his family’s assets.
The case has been registered in connection with 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 Yadav was the Railway minister.
Here are the major developments that is simmering within the Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance:
* RJD leader and deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav skipped an official function with CM Nitish Kumar in Patna. The name plaque of Tejashwi was first covered with a piece of cloth before it was immediately removed from the stage. Tejashwi’s name was mentioned in the invitation for the function, which was held to mark the World Youth Skill Day. The episode highlighted the deteriorating ties between the two Grand Alliance partners, which was growing with every passing day.
* On Friday, Lalu Prasad had insisted that his son Tejashwi would not resign from his position and also 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. The RJD chief also asserted that there will not be any problem to the Grand Alliance from the RJD.
* Showing visible signs of escalating tension with the Grand Alliance, the JD(U) had taken an apparent dig at alliance partner RJD, saying that the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led party should not boast about having 80 MLAs and stressed that they would have won the 2015 assembly elections without incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s face.
* A day after JD(U) had asked Tejashwi to come clean on the matter, the deputy CM had virtually ruled out his resignation and described the FIR 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 said.
* Congress President Sonia Gandhi had also spoken to Nitish Kumar on Friday. They were expected to discuss the ongoing turmoil in the alliance at a time the JD(U) has given its support to the NDA’s Presidential candidate. Reflecting on the meeting, JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi had 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.