Today Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who will meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the evening and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at night.
While the meeting with Rahul Gandhi is scheduled for 4pm, Nitish is likely to meet Modi at a farewell dinner for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee at Hyderabad House. The dinner is being hosted by the latter.
The meeting comes amid a running feud between Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD over corruption allegations against the latter and his son, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. While the JD(U) has demanded Yadav’s resignation, Lalu has said Tejashwi will not step down.
Fissures in the Bihar Grand Alliance came to the fore after the CBI booked Lalu, son Tejashwi and wife Rabri Devi in a corruption case. Lalu has been accused of influencing the awarding of an IRCTC tender when he was the railway minister in 2005 and accepting prime land in return. The land was allegedly transferred to Tejashwi and Rabri via a shell company.
The Congress – third member of the alliance – has been playing peacemaker in the standoff between Bihar’s two major parties.
On Friday, the JD(U) had hit back at a senior RJD leader who had ruled out Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation over a graft case and made light of the party’s claim of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “sacrifice” in forming the anti-BJP coalition in Bihar.
Abdul Bari Siddiqui, a minister in the Grand Alliance government, had yesterday dismissed any possibility of Yadav’s resignation over the CBI FIR in the land-for-hotels case and had said, “Tell us who made the sacrifice so that we can pay obeisance by lighting aggarbatti.”
He had blamed the JD(U) spokesperson for creating tension in the coalition by making tall assertions ‘to remain in the media limelight’. “Have Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav or Basistha Narayan Singh (Bihar JD-U chief) ever spoken on what transpired between the CM and Tejaswi Yadav during their one-to-one meeting on Tuesday last… I do not know who has authorised them (spokesmen) to make tall assertions,” Siddiqui had said.
Hitting back at Siddiqui, Bihar JD(U)’s chief spokesman Sanjay Singh on Friday said, “A man who has been pushed from number two position in the RJD in the past to number five minister today is actually expressing his frustration… Siddiqui should answer to whom he is showing agarbatti.”
He said Nitish Kumar made the sacrifice by reducing the number of seats contested by the JD(U) in the 2015 Assembly elections to 101 from 149 in the earlier poll.