Remember How You Tore Up 'Save the Convict' Bill: Nitish to Rahul
Rahul Gandhi told the Bihar CM Nitish Kumar that filing of an FIR could not be the reason to demand resignation from Tejashwi Yadav, a Congress leader said.
File photos of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
Patna: Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) President Nitish Kumar on Saturday made it clear to Rahul Gandhi that the Congress leadership must stop defending the ‘tainted’ Lalu Prasad family, sources said.
Nitish Kumar met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday for about half an hour, but JD(U) sought to downplay it as a courtesy call as the Congress was also an alliance partner in the Bihar’s ruling Mahagathbandhan.
A close aide of Nitish told News18 that during the meeting, he reminded the Congress vice-president of the day he had torn an ordinance that was dubbed as ‘save the convict’ bill in 2013, only a month before RJD chief Lalu Prasad was found guilty in a fodder scam related case.
“Congress added to the confusion within Mahagathbandhan by attacking Nitish, though a clarification came later on. Now, their leadership must clarify their stand on Tejashwi, whom the CBI has booked in a land graft case. Nitish ji has told Rahul Gandhi that his stand on the issue was clear and as an alliance partner, Congress should also clarify its stand,” the source said.
JD(U) spokesman Ajay Alok said in Patna that it was a courtesy meeting and their stand on corruption and Tejashwi would be the same.
However, senior Congress leader Premchand Mishra told News18 that Rahul Gandhi was keen to save the grand alliance at any cost, and raised the issue during the meet. He asserted that filing of an FIR could not be the reason for demanding resignation from Tejashwi as Union ministers Uma Bharti, UP deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and few other leaders are also facing similar cases.
Fissures in the Bihar Mahagathbandhan came to the fore after the CBI booked Lalu, wife Rabri Devi, and son Tejashwi 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's resignation over a graft case and made light of the party's claim of Nitish's "sacrifice" in forming the anti-BJP coalition in Bihar.
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