Lalu likely to promote elder son Tej Pratap as deputy CM in case Tejashwi is arrested
RJD sources said the party was waiting for CM Nitish Kumar’s reaction to the BJP’s demand for the sacking of Lalu’s deputy CM son Tejashwi, in the wake of the CBI’s FIR against him, before unveiling its ‘Plan B’.india Updated: Jul 10, 2017 13:24 IST
PATNA So, what happens to the post of deputy CM in the Nitish Kumar government in the event of incumbent Tejashwi Prasad Yadav being arrested by the CBI in connection with the ‘land for railways hotels’ scam, along with his father, RJD chief Lalu Prasad?
This development appeared within the realm of possibility as both father and son have been named in FIRs filed by the CBI in the ‘land for hotels’ case.
Sources said the RJD chief, along with his close aides, had finalised a Plan B, in case the CBI took action against him or his younger son. Under the plan, Lalu’s elder son and health minister Tej Pratap Yadav would succeed his younger brother on the deputy CM’s post, in case Tejashwi was arrested by the CBI.
“Tej Pratap is number three in the cabinet as per the current hierarchy, being the health minister. He can always be promoted to the number two slot in case of any exigency,” said a senior party leader, seeking anonymity. He pointed out that Tej Pratap was not an accused in the ‘land for hotels’ scam.
He made it clear nobody other than a member of Lalu’s family’ would be deputy CM, a post equivalent to a cabinet minister created in the GA government after the three-party alliance of RJD, JD(U) and Congress came to power in Bihar on November 8, 2015.
Two days after Tejashwi was named in an FIR registered by the CBI in connection with the hotels on lease scam, the RJD leadership also decided unanimously he would not resign from the post of deputy CM, despite the BJP putting pressure on chief minister Nitish Kumar to remove him and his brother, Tej Pratap, from his cabinet.
This was indicated by Tejashwi himself during a press conference on Friday. Other top RJD leaders confirmed this on Saturday.
RJD sources said the party had taken recourse to a ‘wait and watch’ policy to see the CM’s reaction to the BJP’s demand for the sacking of Lalu’s two sons from the council of ministers.
“We do not know whether the CM would demand Tejashwi’s resignation on the ground of the CBI filing an FIR against him. But our stand is clear. Tejashwi will not resign on his own,” said an RJD leader. He pointed out Union minister Uma Bharti was chargesheeted in a criminal case and still held her ministerial post.
The RJD’s firm stand on Lalu’s sons not quitting the Nitish ministry was likely to put the JD(U) in a tight spot in coming days, a reason why no JD(U) leader of significance has reacted so far to the CBI raids early Friday.
Interestingly, the Congress state leadership came out in open support of Lalu Prasad and family. “Tejashwi was a minor when the hotels’ deals happened. Why was he named in the FIR?” asked state Congress president and Bihar education minister Ashok Choudhary, on Saturday.
GA sources attributed strong Congress backing to the RJD to the need for the support of Lalu Prasad’s MPs and MLAs in the coming presidential polls on July 17. “Only after the presidential elections will it be know whether the two parties are coming any closer,” said a JD(U) leader.
DILEMMA RJD’s firm stand on Lalu’s sons not quitting the Nitish ministry is likely to put JD(U) in a tight spot in coming days
A senior RJD leader made it clear that nobody other than a member of Lalu’s family’ would be deputy CM