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Nitish’s anti-graft joust a charade, says Lalu man Shivanand; beckons more GA trouble

The veteran leader’s stinging comment on Kumar, in a Facebook post on Thursday, drew its significance from the fact he is now regarded as close to the RJD top leadership.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2017 20:54 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
Shivanand Tiwary,Lalu man,Attack on Nitish
Ex-MP Shivanand Tiwary’s FB post on CM Nitish Kumar may exacerbate crisis in Bihar’s ruling grand alliance. (HT file photo)

An open letter to chief minister Nitish Kumar by former JD (U) Rajya Sabha MP Shivanand Tiwary, and his Facebook post on Thursday, calling Kumar’s policy of zero-tolerance of corruption ’a charade’, has once again set sparks flying within the ruling Grand Alliance (GA) in Bihar.

Tiwary’s son, Rahul Tiwary, is a sitting RJD MLA from Shahpur (Bhojpur) in Bihar. The veteran leader’s stinging Facebook post, draws its significance from the fact he is now regarded as close to the top RJD leadership.

The post comes at a time when GA partners, the RJD and JD (U) are locked in a war of attrition over the latter’s demand that RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, either come clean on the CBI’s FIR against him in the ‘land for railway hotels’ lease scam from his father’s days as railways minister (2004-09).

If he fails to do so, the JD (U) wants Tejashwi to resign as deputy CM. The RJD, on the other hand, has firmly ruled out his resignation. Tejashwi had met CM Kumar here earlier this week in a bid to clear the air. Yet, the stalemate does not appear to be resolved.

Tiwary’s post came close on the heels of a sting operation carried out on senior JD (U) leader Shyam Rajak by a national TV channel, wherein Rajak was seen mocking the the CM’s ’principled stand’ on corruption .“One wants power and the other wants power for family,” he quoted as saying about Nitish and Lalu.

he sting had left the JD (U) and RJD leadership quite embarrassed.

In his post, the former MP said on July 13 he had sought time to meet Nitish Kumar. Failing to get an appointment, he said he wrote a letter to Kumar, which was delivered on July 15. Even after that, he acknowledges, he tried to get an appointment with Kumar twice, but failed.

In his FB post, on Thursday, Tiwary, apparently irked with lack of response from Kumar, lashed out at him. “Nitish’s policy of zero tolerance of corruption is a mere charade. His alliance with Lalu is proof of this. Actually, through this charade, he is looking for a way to go back to the BJP. It seems he feels more at home there”, Tiwary wrote.

GA sources acknowledged Tiwary’s accusations against Nitish had the potential to snowball into a major issue within the alliance and acerbate tensions between the RJD and JD (U), over the latter’s demand for the resignation of RJD’s Tejashwi Prasad Yadav as deputy CM, following the lodging of an FIR against him in a corruption case.

In 2008, Tiwary, who was a JD (U) leader at the time, had held a press conference, along with party leader Lalan Singh, to expose the various ‘shady’ land deals struck by RJD chief Lalu Prasad as railway minister (2004-09). Among them was the ‘land for railways hotels’ lease deal, in which the CBI has book Tejashwi and his father, Lalu.

JD (U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar,said Tejashwi explanation on the corruption charges against him was vital to the continued good health of the alliance.

Another JD (U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh said the delay on the part of Yadav scion to explain his stand on CBI FIR was taking a toll on the clean image of the chief minister Nitish Kumar. Our party may be small but the stature of our leader is big,” he said.

On Shivanand, the JD (U) leaders said the former MP was a ‘habitual party hopper’ and had no right to question CM Kumar’s integrity. “He is a man who destroys whichever party he joins. He carries no weight in politics,” said JD (U) spokesman Ajay Alok.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 20:54 IST