- Sharad Yadav hasn't said a word in public about Nitish Kumar's move
- Lalu Yadav said the JDU leader stood on his side
- The bitter opposition charge is led by son Tejashwi Yadav, 27
Lalu Yadav, 69, confirmed to NDTV exactly where the veteran JDU leader stood on Nitish Kumar's move: His side.
"Yes, he (Sharad Yadav) called me," said Lalu Yadav in an interview to NDTV.
"He has been in touch and he told us he is with us," Lalu Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief said, hours after Nitish Kumar comfortably sailed through the floor test in the Bihar assembly after a short debate. The bitter opposition charge was led by Lalu's son Tejashwi Yadav, 27, whose refusal to quit despite facing a corruption case is being said to have precipitated the end of the grand alliance.
Sharad Yadav had been Nitish Kumar's stand in at two recent meetings of an 18-party opposition front that the Bihar Chief Minister had skipped. At these meetings, Sharad Yadav went ahead to assure opposition leaders about his party's firm commitment to fight the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a span of 14 hours this week, Nitish Kumar resigned from the Chief Minister's post and was sworn in again to the post for the sixth time. This time again, with support from the BJP who had been his party's allies for years before Nitish Kumar walked out because the BJP had named Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.
Before the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, Mr Kumar tied up with Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections demonstrated that neither of the three parties were a match for a resurgent BJP led by PM Modi. The BJP had swept the general elections with 31 of the 40 parliamentary seats.
Guided by a political strategist Prashant Kishor, the three parties choreographed an election campaign that launched the political experiment that was positioned as a game-changing grand alliance that could cancel the wave in favour of BJP's PM Modi.
Angry that Chief Minister had used a false case against her son to end the alliance, Lalu Yadav's wife Rabri Devi said it was Nitish Kumar who had come to them in 2015 requesting them to join hands to counter the BJP's march. "We shouldn't have done so," she said.
Lalu Yadav added that Prashant Kishor who had worked closely with them had also phoned him recently. "He was innocent of the ways of Nitish Kumar. He also called to tell me that Nitish wasn't doing the right thing," he said, adding that his first suspicion about Nitish Kumar's intentions arose when he kept on putting off a request to send across his photograph for campaign material for an anti-BJP rally on 27 August.
"I would call Nitish daily... about posters and the photos and campaign material but he would keep putting me off," he said. "I knew that he was up to something."