RJD President Lalu Prasad today ruled out resignation by his son Tejaswi Prasad Yadav as Bihar’s deputy chief minister following the lodging of an FIR by the CBI against him in the land-for-hotels case and blamed the BJP for the ‘present crisis’ in the state.
“Has Nitish asked for the resignation of Tejaswi Yadav?” Prasad retorted in reply to a volley of questions by scribes regarding JD(U) insistence that the embattled deputy chief minister should come clean on accusations in public, a stand being seen in political circles as its demand Dy CM’s resignation.
“Are they (JD(U)) the police that we have to answer them?” he shot back in response to another question that JD(U) spokesmen have been regularly saying that Tejaswi Yadav has to come clean on the issue.
Flanked by wife Rabri Devi, son Tejaswi Yadav and senior party leader Jagdanand Singh, Prasad, in an apparent rejection of JD(U)’s demand, said, “I myself and Tejaswi will speak where it’s required.”
Blaming the BJP for the ‘present crisis’ in the state, Prasad said, “The BJP is eagerly eyeing the return of Nitish Kumar with them … I am watching everything.”
“We formed the Grand Alliance with a lot of difficulties and made Nitish Kumar the chief minister for five years …
But if somebody does not wish to keep bearing the load of it then he should know about it,” Prasad said, apparently shifting the onus of keeping the coalition intact on Kumar.
He, however, hinted that the RJD would do nothing to lead to the collapse of the Grand Alliance government in Bihar.
The RJD legislators, Prasad said, would give a befitting reply to the BJP in the two houses of Bihar legislature during the five-day monsoon session starting from July 28.
The RJD had earlier too refused to yield to the JD(U) pressure and in its legislature party meeting today, ruled out the resignation by Tejaswi Yadav.
Prasad, who was speaking after a meeting of the RJD legislature party (RJDLP) at the 10, Circular Road residence of Rabri Devi, said, “RJD legislators will discharge their functions under the leadership of Tejaswi Yadav and Rabri Devi in the state assembly and legislative council respectively.”
The RJD’s decision on the resignation issue comes ahead of the JD(U) legislature party meeting due later this evening.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is to chair the meeting.
The RJDLP meeting was advanced by a day as Lalu Prasad has to go to Ranchi tonight and would stay there for the next three days in connection with a fodder scam related case.
The RJD chief also dismissed media reports of “communication gap” or “bitterness” between him and Nitish Kumar in the wake of the present political crisis after the CBI filed an FIR against him, Rabri Devi, Tejaswi Yadav and five others in a case of a piece of land given by a private party to them in return for license of two IRCTC hotels at Ranchi and Puri when Prasad was the railway minister.
“We keep talking often. Last night also, I had a talk with Nitish Kumar,” Prasad said.
Prasad and Kumar are known in political circle as ‘Bade Bhai’ (Lalu) and ‘Chote Bhai’ (Nitish).
Ahead of the RJDLP meeting Shivanand Tiwari, a close confidante of Lalu Prasad, hit out at Kumar over his stated policy of ‘zero tolerance of corruption’.
“I know Nitish Kumar for the last 40 years as to how much is he bathed in milk … He is using zero tolerance as a charade … If things come out in public it would resurrect many mortals,” he told reporters waiting outside Rabri Devi’s residence.
He referred to Nitish Kumar’s efforts to rope in INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, lodged in jail in a corruption case, in his attempt to cobble up a united Janata Dal.
“If he (Kumar) can enter into ties with INLD so what problem has he with the RJD?” Tiwari questioned.
On JD(U) repeatedly asking Tejaswi Yadav to answer the accusations in public domain, Tiwari retorted “Has the CBI outsourced this to them (JD-U)?”
Tiwari’s barbs against Kumar was strongly fielded by JD (U) spokesmen Sanjay Singh and Ajay Alok.
“He is suffering from mental illness and needs treatment in a good hospital,” Sanjay Singh said.
Ajay Alok said, “He is neither here, nor there and has no locus standi. I wonder as to why is he trying to make himself important? Lalu Prasad threw him out of his home before the start of the RJDLP meeting.”