Is Bihar Political Scenario Approaching A Flashpoint?
Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators met in Patna on Monday and have demanded continuance of Tejashwi Yadav as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. Their move is aimed at putting pressure on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, so that he does not take any action against Tejashwi, whose sacking is being demanded by Bharatiya Janata Party, which is the main opposition in Bihar.
RJD has contended that Nitish must not take any precipitative action because Tejashwi has not been charge-sheeted yet. RJD had emerged as the largest party with 80 seats in the November 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, followed by JD (U) 71, BJP 53, and Congress 27. Nitish Kumar of JD (U) had then become the Chief Minister mainly with the support of the RJD and Congress.
BJP has started putting pressure on Bihar Chief Minister regarding dismissal of Tejashwi Yadav from the Nitish Ministry following CBI raids against him, as part of raids against Lalu’s family members on Friday last. As the Railway Minister between 2004 and 2009, Lalu Yadav was alleged to have granted illegal favours to privately owned Sujata Hotel through the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The tender process regarding allotment of two hotels was allegedly manipulated to favour the private company in exchange of a three-acre land in Patna, where a mall is being built now.
The RJD legislators met on Monday mainly to discuss the current situation and chalk out a strategy to counter BJP’s call to sack Tejashwi. The defiant party leaders said that Tejashwi should continue as Deputy CM and “even be projected as the next Chief Minister of Bihar”.
Incidentally, the Bihar Chief Minister has not revealed his hand yet, while not commenting anything on the CBI raids against the Lalu family. Grapevine has it that he may be tilting towards the BJP, with which he had severed his ties before the 2015 elections. But numbers in the Bihar Legislative Assembly are against him to tie up with the BJP at this stage.
A senior party MLA asserted: “The Chief Minister should not act in haste, as he is the leader of the legislature party and there is no instability in the government.” The CBI raids against Tejashwi and BJP’s allegations are mainly to malign the image of Lalu Yadav, he stated.
It may be recalled that the Enforcement Directorate has also made separate searches of Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti’s farmhouse in Delhi on Saturday over alleged money laundering.
The RJD chief has called the CBI and Enforcement raids and BJP campaign against him as a political conspiracy. He alleged that he and his family members were being targeted to force them to bow down before the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. “I don’t mind being reduced to ashes, but I will see to it that Modi Administration is removed for good,” he had asserted.