- Reports of growing tension between Bihar's top leaders
- Lalu Yadav's sons regularly skip Nitish Kumar's functions
- Lalu's son, Deputy Chief Minister, cancelled last-minute yesterday
Yesterday, as Mr Kumar, 66, announced free wi-fi for all colleges in the state, Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav were missing. The latter is Mr Kumar's Deputy Chief Minister, so his absence was particularly conspicuous.
Mr Kumar's re-election for a third consecutive term in 2015 was powered largely by Lalu Yadav, whose party won the most seats. The two regional biggies combined with the Congress to block the BJP, whose campaign was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from claiming the state.
In return for his splashy contribution, Lalu's sons were made ministers. Both are in their 20s.
Ashok Choudhary, Education Minister, said that Tejashwi Yadav was expected to give a speech at Mr Kumar's event yesterday, but cancelled at the last-minute.
Sources in Lalu's party say that his sons are taking their cue from him. His alliance with Mr Kumar is punctuated by regular disagreements, some of which are expressed publicly. For example, Lalu Yadav was displeased at Mr Kumar's public praise of the PM's demonetisation reform. And recently, he stated that Mr Kumar and he are due for retirement, and should allow younger leaders to take their place. Mr Kumar has not signaled any interest in this career move.
Tejashwi Yadav's elder brother Tej Pratap's frequent absences from the state assembly have been called out by the opposition to accuse him of not taking his job seriously. Sources in his party said that he was not present at yesterday's government event because his name was not mentioned in the invite, perceived as a slight.