The Bihar alliance trouble over Tejashwi Yadav corruption charges in 5 points
The JD(U) has stepped up pressure on alliance partner RJD over a corruption case involving Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav.india Updated: Jul 15, 2017 14:40 IST
What is going on in Bihar? Are the warring Janata Dal (U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) any closer to resolving their differences after the intervention of Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, their third partner in the ruling coalition?
The tussle between the two allies is being watched closely. Not only will it have a bearing on the politics of India’s third-most populous state but could also decide the fate of the opposition parties’ efforts to come together to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
1) Tejashwi in the middle
Deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, is named in an alleged case of land-for-hotels scandal. The CBI last week raided the residence of Lalu, also named in the case, and other properties in five cities, including Ranchi and Delhi.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has put the RJD and Tejashwi on notice. They want him to come clean on the source of funds used for acquiring the alleged illegal properties or quit his post.
2) Lalu won’t play ball
The RJD chief doesn’t seem to be in a mood to oblige. He snapped at mediapersons when asked if his son would quit. “Tejashwi was elected by the people, not by those asking for his resignation,” he said in Ranchi, where he appeared in a fodder scam case.
The two sides seemed to have hardened their stand despite Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to broker truce between the Grand Alliance partners.
Tejashwi, too, has ruled out resignation, saying charges against him were political vendetta as he was barely 13 when the alleged case happened. The 26-year-old accused Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of conspiring to implicate him to break the ruling alliance in the state.
3) Pressure on Nitish
The land-for-hotels case is the latest in a string of corruption allegations against Lalu and his clan. Kumar is under intense pressure to sack his deputy to protect the image of a clean government.
“Nitish Kumar’s assets are known to the world but on the other hand, what have you?” JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar asked of Lalu.
The RJD chief, his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, their elder son Tej Pratap, also a senior minister in Bihar, and their daughters, including Misa Bharati, are accused of acquiring illegal assets.
Before the JD(U)-RJD rift took the centre stage, Kumar was not too happy with the Congress either. He broke ranks with the opposition to back the BJP-led NDA’s candidate in the July 17 presidential election.
The Bihar chief minister also sent a representative for the July 1 launch of GST, an event the Congress boycotted.
But since then, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has spoken to Kumar, who has decided to back the opposition’s vice presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
5) Playing footsie
While Kumar’s recent moves and utterances have the RJD and Congress worried, the BJP is imagining a reunion.
Kumar walked out of the NDA when the BJP in 2013 named Narendra Modi as the PM candidate, ending a long partnership. It is the BJP that is mounting pressure on Kumar to act against Tejashwi and has questioned his anti-corruption stand. The BJP has even offered outside support to him, if he cuts ties with the RJD.
Kumar has said the Congress is not serious enough to provide an alternative narrative to the BJP while the Congress continues to be ambiguous on a greater role for him in the 2019 parliamentary election.