Patna/New Delhi: Despite the foul-cry against Lalu Prasad by Bihar Congress lawmakers, Rahul Gandhi says he is not ready to end their relationship as of yet, for the sake of secularism.
Gandhi’s decision has left several party lawmakers bemused as Prasad is considered a liability by the Congress.
In the last two days, the Congress vice-president met 22 of the party’s 27 lawmakers from Bihar, who all warned him that an alliance with the 71-year-old will equal to self-immolation.
Prasad is facing several corruption charges, which he has termed as ‘vengeance politics’.
The former Chief Minister of Bihar has accused Prime Minister Modi of falsely framing him, a statement which received the nod from Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi.
Prasad is one of the oldest and most trusted allies of Gandhi, but the same sentiment is not shared by majority of the state Congress leaders.
Bhagalpur legislator Ajit Sharma reportedly told Rahul Gandhi, “We are doomed if we go with a scam-tainted Lalu Prasad as he goes to jail as we visit temples to prove our piety. Because of his (Prasad’s) corruption cases, we lost the government in Bihar.”
Other Bihar Congress lawmakers also spoke about Prasad’s diminishing powers and his waning Muslim-Yadav support.
On the other hand, Nitish Kumar’s move has also dealt a blow to the Congress’ support base in Bihar.
In the month of July, Nitish Kumar tended his resignation as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
His resignation ended the grand alliance which had formed the government in the state after winning the 2015 Assembly polls.
The rift between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad of RJD had reached a flashpoint over corruption issue and earlier deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and his father Lalu Yadav had ruled out resignation of Tejashwi over a CBI probe arguing that a fake case was filed against him.
The move of Nitish came at a time when the state government was facing tremendous challenges with the ruling RJD and JD-U locked in a conflict over the issue of Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation.
Nitish Kumar’s JD-U had insisted that the Lalu Prasad’s scion should step down to spare the ruling coalition a stigma, the RJD asserted that nothing such happened that warrants the young minister’s resignation.
Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation was demanded over corruption charges made against him.
Following a series of raids in the residences of Lalu Prasad and others, the CBI had registered cases of corruption against the RJD chief and his son, Tejashwi.
The RJD has, however, said that by “framing” Tejashwi Yadav, the second man in the cabinet, the BJP-led Centre is out for a “political vendetta.”
Though RJD emerged as the largest party in the Assembly election in 2015, BJP had 50 odd seats under their belt which proved to be handy for JD-U to instantly form the government.
Even with all the counselling, Gandhi’s decision to stick with the former Railway Minister comes as a surprise, but he has support of 18 legislators, who are willing to follow him anywhere.
–India Blooms News Service