Nitish Kumar has not asked for deputy CM Tejashwi’s resignation: Lalu Prasadindia Updated: Jul 26, 2017 18:19 IST
RJD chief Lalu Prasad with wife Rabri Devi at the legislative party meeting, in Patna.(PTI Photo)
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad ruled out on Wednesday his son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s resignation as Bihar deputy chief minister over corruption allegations, ratcheting up political temperatures in a bitter standoff that has plunged the state’s ruling alliance into crisis.
At a press conference after his party’s MLAs met, Prasad said his younger son was ready to clarify to the Central Bureau of Investigation on an alleged land-for-hotels scam, and that the alliance would remain intact.
“I made Nitish Kumar the chief minister and assiduously stitched the Grand Alliance, which has a mandate for five years… Nitish Kumar has never demanded any resignation,” the 69-year-old leader said.
All eyes are now on a legislature party meeting of the Janata Dal (United), led by Nitish Kumar, this evening. The party has repeatedly demanded Tejashwi’s resignation, even issuing a four-day deadline that has long lapsed, but has recently appeared to have toned down its objections.
Earlier in the day, JD(U) national spokesman KC Tyagi also said that Nitish never sought Tejaswhi’s resignation, but wanted him to come clean on the corruption charges against him.
Flanked by his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi and other RJD legislators, Prasad made it clear and that Tejaswhi and him would clarify wherever it would be required. “It is for the CBI to seek clarification, not JD (U). JD (U) is not police,” he said, trying to play down the oft-quoted communication gap between him and Nitish by saying that he talked to Nitish on Tuesday night. “I keep talking. Last night also, I said I would be away for three days,” he said.
Legislature party meetings are routine ahead of assembly sessions but this round of meetings have gained significance because of the political crisis. The BJP has already said it would disrupt the monsoon session, beginning Friday, if Tejashwi attends the session. The Congress is said to be playing the peacemaker with both Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi meeting Sonia Gandhi this week.
Tejashwi’s continuing stint is said to be embarrassing to Nitish Kumar, who came to power on a promise of clean governance. But experts say the RJD’s political clout and mass base might stop the JD(U) from breaking the alliance government, which trounced the BJP two years ago in state elections.