Fissures have started to appear in the ruling Grand Alliance in Bihar. After the Janata Dal (United) took umbrage at Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s ‘sermon’ to chief minister Nitish Kumar over law and order in the state, the RJD hit back at its alliance partner on Friday.
RJD vice-president and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a known critic of Nitish, had said, “Leaders in the JD (U), over the years, have developed this habit of listening to only their leader’s praise. So if anyone points out a shortcoming, the JD (U) leaders feel offended and react immediately.”
“If Nitish Kumar is in the driver’s seat, he will have to take the responsibility and explain as to why there is derailment on the law and order front,” the former MP from Vaishali said. However, the verbal pot-shots forced Lalu to intervene in the matter.
“The government is working in the right direction and there is complete unity in the grand alliance and we will fulfil the promises made to people of the state,” the RJD chief said. He also advised spokespersons and leaders of both parties to not give “unnecessary statements without understanding the matter”.
Another JD (U) spokesperson, Sanjay Singh, criticised Raghuvansh Singh for his statement, resulting in RJD leader Alok Kumar Mehta, who is a minister in Nitish’s cabinet, to rush to the latter’s defence.
“All the three alliance partners are concerned about Bihar and what the party president or vice-president said is the official belief of the party,” he said.
This is not the first time Raghuvansh Singh has spoken out against Nitish. Just before the assembly elections in 2015, he had questioned Nitish’s credibility for the chief minister’s post and said the RJD has “many faces capable of being the CM”.
With respect to the RJD vice president’s latest remarks, Nitish himself maintained a stoic silence on the issue. However the Congress, also a partner in the grand alliance, came out in support of the CM.
“Law and order has always been Nitish Kumar’s USP, for which he has won praise across the country. Some criminal incidents have taken place, which the CM is looking into and will handle,” education minister and state Congress chief Ashok Choudhary said.