Bihar’s ruling grand alliance closer to brink as top RJD leaders target Nitish on graft
Mohammad Taslimuddin, RJD MP from Araria in north eastern Bihar, dismissed as unsustainable the JD (U)’s insistence it had a ‘zero tolerance policy on corruption’, claiming, “even Nitish Kumar is not clean”.Updated: Jul 24, 2017 20:07 IST
A direct attack on JD (U) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on the issue of corruption, by two top RJD leaders, appeared to push the ruling grand alliance (GA) in Bihar closer to the brink of a precipice on Monday.
Mohammad Taslimuddin, RJD MP from Araria in north eastern Bihar, dismissed as unsustainable the JD (U)’s insistence it had a ‘zero tolerance policy on corruption’, claiming, “even Nitish Kumar is not clean”.
“He is with the BJP by night and with the RJD by day,” said Taslimuddin. “There is corruption all around,” said the veteran leader, who served for a while as union minister of state for home in the Deve Gowda government (1996-97) at the centre.
Taslimuddin’s remarks on corruption came amid RJD-JD(U) standoff over the latter’s demand that RJD leader and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav come clean on the CBI naming him as a beneficiary in the ‘land for railways hotels case’ and his silence on the same.
The case pertains to Tejashwi’s father, RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s tenure as railway minister (2004-09), during which railway hotels were leased to private parties in lieu of gift of land in Patna as quid pro quo. The CBI named Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi, in an FIR lodged in connection with the case.
RJD national vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh rubbed Taslimuddin’s remarks in, declaring, “there is no office in the country in which corruption is not prevalent, including Bihar.” Singh has targeted Kumar several times in the recent past and the CM appeared to have resented the same.
Raghuvansh also warned if anything happened to the Grand Alliance in Bihar, Nitish Kumar would be held responsible for the same as he was the elected leader of the alliance. “We are just riders in the vehicle that Kumar drives. We can only caution him from taking a wrong turn,” he said.
He suggested that all the three alliance partners should sit together and sort out the issue in order to save the alliance.
The crisis in the alliance has persisted as the RJD has failed to “come clean” on the CBI charge that he was a beneficiary of the ‘land for hotels’ scam and also ruled out the possibility of his resignation as deputy CM.
Tejashwi had met CM Kumar here early last week in a bid to clear the air. Yet, the stalemate has continued.
Also last week, former MP Shivanand Tiwary, said to be a confidant of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, in his Facebook post, had called Kumar’s policy of zero tolerance of corruption ‘a charade’.
The sudden attack by senior RJD leaders, after several days of silence, appeared to leave the JD (U) nonplussed. Party spokesman Neeraj Kumar, MLC, said CM Kumar would never compromise on the issue of corruption.
Another JD (U) leader said Raghuvansh was facing “political unemployment”, which had caused him to become over talkative.
First Published: Jul 24, 2017 20:07 IST