Will RJD ministers resign from the Nitish Kumar government?

Tejashwi Yadav with Lalu Prasad Yadav  Firstpost

Yadav, the son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, is the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and has been named by the CBI as an accused in its probe into land-for-hotels scandal.

Over the week, JD (U) leaders such as KC Tyagi have told NDTV that the party hadn't set a deadline for the Deputy Chief Minister to quit but also hinted that the grand alliance didn't make sense if it cost the Nitish Kumar government its moral high ground.

Kumar, who was seated next to Labour Resources Minister and RJD leader Vijay Prakash, subsequently swapped his chair with JD (U) minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh, who was on his right.

"Nitish Kumar's stand on corruption is well known". "A senior RJD Cabinet minister, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, is strongly opposed to Tej Pratap's promotion, though Lalu wants him to replace Tejashwi in case he is forced to resign". The JD (U) had earlier said that the party was not convinced with Tejashwi Yadav's public statement and wanted him to give an explanation on corruption charges levelled against him.

The political crisis in Bihar deepened on Saturday with Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, facing CBI charges, skipping a government function attended by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who swapped his chair with a JD (U) minister after being seated next to an RJD leader.

"An FIR is not sufficient reason for the resignation", he said.

The CBI had raided the residence of former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 11 other locations after registering a case of corruption against the RJD chief and his family.

The rift within the grand secular alliance widened on Friday after JD (U) demanded details of Lalu Yadav's properties. "I totally reject this", he said. "The RJD will not let anybody break our alliance", he added. Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has advocated a similar alliance in Uttar Pradesh between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party, has made it amply clear to his loyalists that they can't afford a fracture in the alliance.

The Congress's mediation had been openly sought, especially from the JD (U)'s side, and the Gandhis have indeed stepped in. Media reports are showing that Sonia ji has held talks with me and Nitish ji, all this is false.

JDU sources say that the way out for the RJD was to ask Tejashwi Yadav to resign and move ahead rather than making it an ego and prestige issue. "It is speculative question, to which we have no reply at present", an AICC member said.

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