CM Nitish Kumar readying Plan B if RJD pulls out of Grand Alliance in Bihar
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CM Nitish Kumar readying Plan B if RJD pulls out of Grand Alliance in Bihar

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is said to want deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav out over alleged land-for-hotels scam, a scenario the RJD has ruled out.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2017 13:23 IST
Anil Kumar and Vijay Swaroop
Anil Kumar and Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar Grand Alliance,Lalu Prasad,Land for hotels scam
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar instructed all spokespersons to not go whole hog against the BJP. (AP file photo)

After a week of hectic parleys and accusations flying thick and fast, all has been quiet in Bihar for two days. But experts feel this is an indication that chief minister Nitish Kumar is considering all options and readying a plan B if his ally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, pulls out of the government.

Kumar spent a quiet day on Thursday but sources said he instructed all spokespersons not to go whole hog against the BJP. The saffron party too held fire after a week of bombast.

The current crisis was sparked by corruption charges against RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his younger son, deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, in an alleged land-for-hotels scam. Kumar is said to want Tejashwi out, a scenario the RJD has ruled out.

The hardening in the JD(U)’s stand is evident from the fact that Kumar, who had been huddled with half a dozen senior party leaders after his return from Rajgir retreat, has sidelined two, who disagreed on the party’s hard stance. Sources said the two leaders asked “how can the continuing JD(U)alliance with RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who carried the taint of being a convict in fodder scam, be justified on the other hand”.

Analysts say relations between the JD(U) and RJD hang by a thread. On Thursday, JD (U) state president Bashistha Narayan Singh reminded Tejashwi that despite his assertion that he was 14 when the alleged dubious hotel deal happened, the matter remained ‘far more serious’.

“Don’t address your constituency. Come out with a point-to-point rebuttal,” Singh said, indicating that the issue of ‘zero tolerance on corruption’ — a stated stand of chief minister Nitish Kumar’s administration, would not be diluted.

The deputy CM had also said he would go to the people to expose BJP’s ‘conspiracy’ against RJD’s first family.

KC Tyagi also reiterated that any attempt to dilute Nitish Kumar’s image — that saw the Grand Alliance romp home in 2015 — would only pave the way for the saffron brigade’s smooth run.

The Janata Dal (United),though, has rowed back on a four-day deadline it read out to Tejashwi Yadav to come clean on graft allegations.

Senior party leader Ramai Ram has blamed the the media for quoting him in a “twisted manner and out of context” and claimed he never meant to give a four-day deadline to Yadav, who along with his father and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, is facing charges in an alleged land-for-hotels scam.

The RJD has dismissed any such deadline and JD(U) national general secretary KC Tyagi also joined Lalu Prasad in denying that Ram had spelt out a timeframe.

But the denials have not scotched political speculation and most leaders in the state are counting down to Monday, when presidential elections are scheduled and the deadline lapses.

After JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok’s statement that Prasad’s son and deputy CM was not only facing an accusation but a CBI FIR, another spokesperson Neeraj Kumar stepped said “when action by the state government was initiated against RJD’s Md Shahabuddin and other legislators, RJD remained mum and ‘respected’ the CM’s decision. But why is it trying to pick holes in CM’s stand now?”

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 13:22 IST