The scaling down has meant that the 69-year-old Bihar politician will not be protected by central forces like the National Security Guard (NSG), reserved for select VVIPs and often seen as a status symbol. But he will continue to have state-government appointed special security guards, the Chief Minister pointed out in a tweet this morning.
"The state government gives you Z plus security with SSG, you still want hundreds of NSG and CRPF guards surrounding you so that you can intimidate people. Is this the real face of your brave personality?" Nitish Kumar tweeted, naming no one.
He didn't need to. Since the withdrawal of security cover was announced Lalu Yadav and his family have railed against the centre, with the RJD leader warning that if he were to come to any harm both the central government and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be responsible.
His older son and former Bihar minister Tej Pratap Yadav yesterday hit a new low by threatening to "scalp" Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his father's security downgrade. Lalu Yadav said he disagrees with his son's language, but also said, "Any son's blood will boil if he feels his father is under threat and his security is withdrawn."
It is purely the centre's call and Nitish Kumar has nothing really to do with the change in Lalau Yadav's security status or that of another former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. But his association with the BJP has meant he too has to bear the brunt of Lalu Yadav's ire. Four months ago Nitish Kumar dumped Mr Yadav and the Congress over corruption charges against the RJD chief and scripted a new alliance with the BJP to run the Bihar government.
The move pushed the party of Lalu Yadav, whose two sons enjoyed top billing in the Bihar government, into the opposition. The Yadav family has accused PM Modi and his government of using central agencies to pursue false allegations of corruption against them as political vendetta.
Sources close to Nitish Kumar point out that despite being Chief Minister for the last 12 years, he has not been offered or sought the status symbol of central security. If he asks for it, they said, he will get it without much ado. Even some Bihar legislators close to union home minister Rajnath Singh, who is in charge, have managed to score upgrades in their security, they point out.