Amid differences, Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar spoke on the phone today.
After a party meeting, an emotional Lalu Yadav is meeting each of his Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) 80 legislators separately at his Patna home today; the party has made it clear that his son Tejashwi Yadav will not resign as Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister over corruption charges
"Tejashwi's resignation was not even discussed today," the RJD's Abdul Bari Siddiqui after the meeting, while another leader Jagdanand Singh said even Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had not brought it up with Mr Yadav when they spoke on the phone on Sunday. It was Mr Kumar's first conversation with Mr Yadav after the latter was raided by the CBI on Friday.
In his one-on-one meetings after the party huddle today, Lalu Yadav has asked his MLAs to ensure that a mega anti-BJP rally he plans next month is well attended and told them not to be affected by the many rumours swirling about the status of his relationship with Nitish Kumar.
Tejashwi Yadav's declaration that he will not resign has reportedly upset Mr Kumar, who is yet to speak publicly on the CBI raids on Lalu Yadav and members of his family. The chief minister cancelled his weekly meeting with the public today and is expected to speak about it only tomorrow at a meeting of party leaders that he has called in Patna. The third partner in Bihar's ruling alliance, the Congress, agrees that it is Nitish Kumar's prerogative to decide whether Tejashwi Yadav will continue as his deputy.
At Lalu Yadav's Patna home, the mood was sombre today as party leaders gathered, many looking downcast. Older members of the party, forced to take a backseat as newer leaders like Lalu Yadav's sons have emerged, were at the fore again today, surrounding the party's founder as they discussed options.
Lalu Yadav has asked party leaders to be circumspect and avoid too much interaction with the media as the party waits for Nitish Kumar's next move. His actions in the last few weeks have been seen to signal that he could reconsider political alignments. After breaking ranks with a 17-member bloc of opposition parties - that includes both his partners Lalu Yadav and the Congress - by backing the BJP's nominee for President Ram Nath Kovind, Mr Kumar cancelled plans to attend a meeting in Delhi tomorrow being chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to select a joint opposition candidate for Vice-President.
Though the Chief Minster is sending senior party leader Sharad Yadav for that meeting and is expected to back the opposition's candidate for Vice President, his non-attendance has triggered new speculation about Nitish Kumar weighing a change of partners. He is reportedly also upset with the Congress for backing Lalu, who alleges that the BJP is using central agencies to exact "political revenge."
Lalu Yadav's RJD has the most legislators in the Bihar assembly. But Nitish Kumar has enough to ensure that he continues as Chief Minister if he were to ditch current allies Lalu Yadav and the Congress and take help from the BJP.