The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leadership, on Thursday, revealed the reason why not a single minister belonging to the party attended the ‘Bihar day’ inaugural function, addressed by chief minister Nitish Kumar, here on Wednesday.
And, what they said did not bode well for the future of the ruling ‘grand alliance’, comprising the RJD, JD (U) and the Congress.
RJD state spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary and party MLA Shakti Singh Yadav revealed all the ministers belonging to the party, including deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, stayed away from the function because the latter’s name did not figure on the official invitation card for the function.
“This is not acceptable to us. The education minister should explain as to why the name of the deputy CM was not put on the card and also take action against those responsible for the omission,” said Tiwary and Yadav. Being No. 2 in the grand alliance government, Tejashwi’s name should certainly have been on the card, they argued.
“When the NDA government headed by Nitish Kumar was in office (Nov 2005-June 2013), the name of the deputy CM (BJP’s Sushil Modi, at that time), used to find place in the Bihar Diwas invitation cards. Why was this not done this time?” Tiwary asked.
Other RJD leaders admitted in private that Tejashwi was miffed about his name not figuring in the card and chose not to attend the function, once again setting off speculation that all was not well between the two GA partners, the Lalu Prasad-led RJD and Nitish Kumar headed JD (U).
Earlier, too, RJD workers had complained that were not invited for CM Kumar’s programmes organised in connection with his ‘seven resolves’ for good governance, just at JD (U) functionaries were unhappy they were ‘omitted’ from programmes organised by the Tejashwi-headed road construction department.
Even posters of CM Kumar were not seen at these Tejashwi programmes, which ended up as RJD shows.
While the RJD leaders, on Thursday, demanded an explanation from education minister Ashok Choudhary, of the Congress, for the ‘slip-up’ on Tejashwi, the opposition BJP called the deputy CM’s absence from the Bihar day show as another sign of the growing chasm between the two major GA partners.
Senior BJP leaders Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishore Yadav said the RJD leaders’ absence from the event showed the gulf within the ruling GA was widening. “ Kuch toh khichdi pak rahi hai. (There is something cooking),” said Yadav.
However, JD (U) spokesperson and former minister Shyam Rajak appeared to downplay the rift theory. “The deputy CM is the best person to explain why he did not attend the annual Bihar day event”, was all that Rajak was prepared to say.