BY CK MADHU
PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has not spoken a word in the past five days since the CBI conducted raids at the residence of his deputy Tejashwi Yadav who was made accused in the land-for-hotel scandal.
Many believe the chief minister is angry with Tejashwi over his continuation in his government despite a corruption case registered against him by the CBI and wants him to resign to ensure his image of “Mr Clean” remain intact.
After all, he forced four of his colleagues to tender resignations in the past for petty charges or old cases pending against them in the court.
Kumar is under pressures from both the media and the BJP which want him to show his “old bravery” in Tejashwi case too even as the RJD has ruled the deputy CM will not resign. Obviously, the ball is in Kumar’s court.
But, instead of coming under any pressure, the chief minister is required to act judiciously and do something which could prove a “friend in need is a friend indeed”. After all, the RJD has helped the JD-U more than thrice in the past or the JD-U would have become a history. Kumar is, thus, obliged to help his political ally or none will trust him any longer.
The RJD first came to the rescue of Kumar when he broke the 17-year-old alliance with the BJP in June 2013, leaving the party in the minority. Although the party gained the majority in the House with the support of Left and few Independents, the RJD too lent its support, leaving the JD-U in comfortable position.
Lalu Prasad’s party again helped the JD-U when the imminent defeat stared during the Rajya Sabha elections in June 2014 after a section of leaders led by Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo rebelled against Nitish Kumar.
The JD-U had fielded Sharad Yadav, Pawan Verma and Ghulam Rasool but the dissident camp lent their support to rebel JD-U leader Sabir Ali and other independent candidate Anil Kumar Sharma. The defeat looked certain. It was at this time that Kumar appealed to Lalu Prasad for help and he bailed him out.
“BJP is the main conspirator in the RS bypoll (for supporting rebellion within JD-U and backing two Independents). It wants to destabilise the Jitan Ram Manjhi government and thrust an early election in Bihar…I have talked to Lalu Prasad, Congress state chief Ashok Choudhary, its legislature party leader Sadanand Singh and CPI secretary Rajendra Singh seeking their support for victory of two JD(U) candidates in the bypoll to the Rajya Sabha in Bihar,” Kumar had told reporters then.
Lalu Prasad again proved “Vighnharta” (destroyer of obstacles) for JD-U boss when his mentor, chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi revolted against him and refused to resign to make way for Kumar who wanted to get back his throne.
Lalu Prasad was at that time busy in the wedding of his youngest daughter Raj Laxami yet he came to Patna, stood up in full support of Kumar outside Raj Bhawan as a show of solidarity and protested the alleged delay made by then governor KN Tripathi in arranging swearing-in of Nitish Kumar. Eventually, it was due to RJD’s backing that Nitish Kumar managed to get back his throne and successfully completed rest of his renure.
It’s also due to the RJD commitment that he remains in power today. The RJD has not staked claims for Bihar throne despite it has more legislators in Bihar assembly than JD-U’s. The RJD has 80 members in Bihar assembly against JD-U’s 71 MLA.