Rahul Gandhi dials Nitish Kumar amid tension in Bihar grand allianceindia Updated: Jul 12, 2017 20:22 IST
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar spoke on Tuesday evening.(HT file photo)
Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar spoke on Tuesday evening, apparently about corruption allegations against the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the vice-presidential election.
Kumar’s JD(U), the Congress and Lalu Prasad’s RJD are in an alliance in Bihar that trumped the BJP in the 2015 assembly elections. The graft allegations against Prasad and his family have spelt unease in the coalition.
Congress vice president Gandhi called Kumar, who is also the president of the Janata Dal (United), to seek support for Gopalkrishna Gandhi picked as the opposition’s vice presidential candidate a few hours earlier, sources said.
The Centre’s ruling NDA has yet to announce its nominee for the August 5 election.
Sources didn’t rule out the possibility of the two leaders talking about the friction between the alliance partners over a slew of corruptions charges against Prasad, his two minister sons and other family members.
Sources also indicated that Kumar will meet with Gandhi the next time the CM visits Delhi in a sign of a possible thaw in the frosty ties of their parties.
“The cases against Prasad are politically motivated. The government is trying to corner him for political reasons,” a close aide of the Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
On Tuesday, the Janata Dal (U) gave the RJD four days to come clean on corruption charges against Lalu and his deputy chief minister son Tejashwi.
The chief minister is under mounting pressure to remove Tejashwi, who was recently named in an alleged land-for-hotels scandal along with his father and mother that saw the CBI raid their homes and other properties.
The Congress’ ties with JD (U) have soured over Kumar breaking ranks with the opposition to back the NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
He also chose to send a representative for the midnight launch of the goods and service tax, which the Congress chose to boycott.
It is not clear if the phone call eased the tension but the Congress leader did manage to secure Kumar’s support for Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Kumar’s senior party colleague Sharad Yadav had attended the 18-party meeting to pick the vice presidential candidate.