- Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wants Tejashwi Yadav to quit as Deputy
- Won't happen, says Tejashwi's father, Lalu, denies rift with Nitish Kumar
- Nitish Kumar is no saint, says Team Lalu, raising the pitch
"Nobody has asked me to resign" said Tejashwi Yadav on whom the future of the Bihar government hinges and who is caught in a corruption scandal. But sources said that at a party meeting, Lalu Yadav told his legislators that he is worried that Tejashwi Yadav could be sacked by Nitish Kumar. In compliance with court orders in another corruption case, Lalu Yadav will spend the next three days attending hearings in Ranchi, and he urged his law-makers to avoid travel and remain in Patna till he returns. "Move in large groups so we give the impression we're united," he said of the Bihar assembly session that begins on Friday.
On July 7, Lalu and Tejashwi Yadav were named in a corruption case by the CBI which searched their Patna home. The Yadavs have attributed the case to a get-even attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who they allege is "scared" of their concerted opposition to him. Nitish Kumar indicated the defense did not wash with him, stressed that his "zero-tolerance to corruption" policy is unwavering, and amply hinted that his 28-year-old deputy should resign.
Today, Lalu Yadav's party met and repeated that not only will Tejashwi Yadav remain in office, but that the Chief Minister's suggestion of a public and detailed defense has not been accepted.
"I have known Nitish for 40 years, he is no saint," said Shivanand Tiwari, a senior member of Lalu Yadav's party. "We can't compromise on Nitish's clean image," said KC Tyagi, a senior leader from the Chief Minister's party.
The Congress' top bosses, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, have attempted mediation with both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav.
If the alliance in Bihar ends, it will puncture the hype that the opposition is trying to build around an 18-party front that hopes to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from winning a second term in 2019. The league has been fashioned on the Bihar alliance which saw former rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav quitting their differences in 2015 and co-signing with the Congress to ensure that their collective support groups - a range of castes - became the wall that PM Modi ran into as he led the BJP's campaign in Bihar.