Lalu Prasad says Nitish has murder taint, cries conspiracy after Bihar CM resigns

Hindustan Times, Patna | By
Jul 27, 2017 10:10 AM IST

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar resigned on Wednesday, torpedoing the so-called Grand Alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar decided to break the ruling alliance and go with the opposition BJP because he is facing trial for murdering a man in 1991, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad alleged on Wednesday evening.

RJD Chief Lalu Prasad addressing a press conference after Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar chief minister in Patna on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)
RJD Chief Lalu Prasad addressing a press conference after Nitish Kumar resigned as Bihar chief minister in Patna on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)

Also, he asked Kumar to convene a joint session of the three-party mahagathbandhan or grand alliance that rules Bihar and allow the legislators to elect their own leader. (HIGHLIGHTS)

“Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, nor Tej Pratap Yadav would be a candidate at such a meeting, provided Nitish Kumar is not himself a candidate,” he said.

Kumar resigned from the chief minister’s post during the day, but was silent on the fate of the alliance that has been pushed to the brink after corruption allegations surfaced against Prasad and his youngest son, deputy chief minister Tejashwi.

“Our claim to govern stands because we are the largest party and have a right to this chance. We will not allow President’s rule in Bihar,” Prasad said.

The RJD, JD(U) and Congress are part of Bihar’s ruling alliance that defeated the BJP in the 2015 state polls. The RJD has 80 legislators, the JD(U) 71 and Congress 27 in the assembly.

But the RJD leader doubted if Kumar would call a meeting of alliance legislators.

“I am unsure, he would take heed, labouring as he does under the fear of prosecution in the murder case,” he said.

He accused Kumar of working slyly with the BJP-led NDA to destabilise the coalition.

“The Prime Minister’s tweet after the resignation indicates how strong this conspiracy was to destabilise the alliance,” Prasad said.

“It is he who backtracked, despite our best efforts. Wasn’t he the person who said ‘mitti mein mil jayeengey, BJP key saath nahin jayeengey (won’t go with the BJP even if I die)?”

Kumar was with the NDA for more than a decade until the BJP made Narendra Modi the alliance’s prime-ministerial candidate before the 2014 general election.

Confident that he could gain from a split in the JD(U) ranks at an alliance meeting, Prasad turned up the offensive against Kumar.

“I say this with great responsibility that Nitish Kumar is charged with crime and the case is with the lower judiciary,” he said.

“He had indicated this to the Election Commission … He got the proceedings stayed using his power.”

He accused the JD(U) chief of thrusting a corruption scandal on his family to hide his own wrongdoings.

“With such a case in his own history, the fact that he took cognizance of an FIR by the CBI against Tejashwi is surprising. He is in cahoots with the RSS and the BJP. To say that he is against crime and corruption is a hollow claim,” Prasad said.

The JD(U) had asked the RJD leader and his son to come clean on the allegations after they were named in a land-for-hotels scandal and the CBI raided their homes and other properties. The alleged scam is from Prasad’s stint as railway minister from 2004 to 2009.

The RJD refused to balk under pressure and dismissed calls for Tejashwi’s resignation.

For his part, Kumar was under pressure to maintain his clean, incorruptible image and his party said it won’t digress from its avowed “no-compromise” policy on corruption.

Kumar’s move on Wednesday surprised and angered Prasad in equal measure.

“We talked to each other even yesterday. There was no word ever spoken on Tejashwi’s resignation. He only said there should be an explanation, which we agreed. Now this has happened,” the RJD leader said.

Prasad alleged that the “entire episode leading to his resignation and keeping the grand alliance on the edge was played out in a well-thought-out manner after a deal with the BJP”.

He admitted that Kumar spoke to him before “breaking the alliance and accepted that I helped him run the government”.

“But I would like to tell him, if he cannot fight communalism, he should not think of governing again. You better go for fresh elections.”

Prasad said: “I believe you are wholly compromised. He fought the BJP, won and now gives up the government to the BJP. Though I do not want to push the state into President’s Rule, it seems it is not a long way off.”

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    A journalist for 21 years, Anirban covers RJD, legislature and government beats. Has extensive experience in covering elections and writes regularly on finance, land reforms, registration, excise and socio-economic issues.

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