Patna, July 13: Strain in the grand alliance in Bihar did not stop the Janata Dal (U) from supporting Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s candidature for the Vice-President’s post, but the party simultaneously gave alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) an ultimatum on scam-tainted Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. The Chief Minister also refused to endorse his partner Lalu Prasad’s charge that a probe by central agencies into the assets acquired by his son and other family members was part of a political conspiracy.
“Those facing corruption charges should face the public and come clean. We are confident that it will happen,” said a spokesperson for the JD(U).
Addressing a meeting of the JD(U) executive, Nitish Kumar said RJD needs to come up with a detailed explanation to the allegations of CBI and ED that members of Lalu’s family – wife Rabri Devi, son and deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and daughters, including RS member Misha Bharti – illegally acquired properties worth hundreds of crores in different parts of the country. “What has been said so far may have satisfied your constituents, but is inadequate so far as convincing the larger public is concerned,” a source, quoting Nitish telling his JD(U) colleagues at the in-camera meeting. JD(U)’s alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD has been teetering since his family became the target of various investigations into land scams and corruption. Coupled with the Chief Minister’s recent decisions to support the BJP on issues like demonetisation and surgical strikes and, more significantly, their choice for the President Ram Nath Kovind, the RJD’s corruption scandals were seen as pushing Nitish Kumar towards the BJP. This came amid indications that CBI and ED which are probing several charges of corruption against the deputy CM and more crucially Lalu’s putative political successor, and other members of his family, are pressing ahead with the investigation.
In the JD(U) meeting in Patna, Nitish Kumar met party ministers, legislators and office-bearers at his 1, Anne Marg residence to discuss the political situation in Bihar arising out of the growing demand for the resignation of Tejashwi Yadav. Those present at the meeting said Nitish Kumar was clear about what he expected from Lalu Yadav.