Compromise eludes Bihar rift as Tejashwi Yadav skips function with Nitish
The RJD rejected the JD(U)’s demand for an explanation on Lalu Prasad and his family’s sources of income, which allegedly went into buying benami properties.india Updated: Jul 16, 2017 00:11 IST
Bihar’s ruling alliance was pushed to the brink over deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s alleged scam taint. His party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, refused on Saturday to balk under pressure from partner Janata Dal (United) that has asked him come clean or resign.
The RJD rejected the JD(U)’s demand for an explanation on Lalu Prasad and his family’s sources of income, which allegedly went into buying benami properties.
Amid the spat, Tejashwi skipped a function on Saturday that chief minister Kumar attended.
His nameplate on the dais at a World Youth Skills Day event was covered and then removed when it was confirmed he won’t be coming.
RJD chief Prasad and his 26-year-old younger son, Tejashwi, were named in a land-for-hotels scandal and the CBI raided their homes and other properties last week. The alleged scam is from Prasad’s stint as railway minister from 2004 to 2009.
The two parties rule Bihar with the Congress after the alliance defeated the BJP in the 2015 state elections. Chief minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) maintains a clean, incorruptible image and his party is under pressure to stick to its avowed “no-compromise” policy on corruption after the alleged RJD scam surfaced.
The Congress tried to broker peace, but its partners remained defiant.
“Assets of Lalu’s family are all in public domain. And, we need not explain it or give any clarification to people. Isn’t it the job of the investigating agencies to inquire who has what assets and how they acquired these?” said a party leader who didn’t wish to be named.
“If CBI or ED seeks an explanation, Lalu’s family would give it to them. Even RJD chief has underlined this,” he said.
For its part, the JD(U) insisted it will not dilute its stand on corruption and take a decision at the right time.
“Lalu Prasad deserves respect but I would say he is old, reason why he is speaking variously,” said party general secretary Shyam Razak.
Prasad rejected on Friday the demand for his son’s resignation, though he said his party won’t break the alliance.
“What clarifications are they asking for? I have already issued rebuttals on the CBI FIR. And, as to explanation of source or property, it’s all there in public domain,” he said.
The Congress, however, remained hopeful that the alliance will ride out the storm.
“Some solution will be found. Let me clarify that Nitish Kumar has not asked for Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation. He has just asked for a point-wise rebuttal of the allegations,” said a senior Bihar Congress functionary.