Will the CBI Raids Rupture Lalu Prasad Yadav-Nitish Kumar Ties in Bihar
CNN-News18 had earlier reported that Bihar Chief Minster Nitish Kumar was readying to snap ties with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in what could mark the premature end of one of the most unlikely — and successful — political alliances in the country.
Nitish and Lalu had been bitter political opponents for over two decades but came together in 2015 during the Bihar assembly polls and trounced BJP.
Patna: Within hours of CBI registering an FIR against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and seven others in a corruption case, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar summoned his top officials to Rajgir.
State chief secretary, home secretary and the DGP were soon on their way, traveling a 100km south of Patna as sleuths from the central investigating agency went about their search operations at a dozen places in Delhi and Patna.
The question now is whether the Bihar CM would react to the situation as one of the persons named in the FIR is none other than Lalu’s son Tejaswi Yadav — a minister in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet.
But the larger question is: will these raids rupture ties between Nitish and Lalu leading up to the disintegration of the Bihar Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance).
CNN-News18 had earlier reported that Nitish was readying to snap ties with Lalu in what could mark the premature end of one of the most unlikely — and successful — political alliances in the country.
The political muck surrounding the RJD founder and his family after a series of raids by the Enforcement Directorate and the I-T Department on cases, including money laundering, has been a matter of concern for Nitish Kumar.
BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi has said in the past that he was not surprised that the Mahagathbandhan was on the verge of collapse. “Since day one, we knew that this kind of alliance cannot sustain for five years. We thought it will go on for at least 2-3 years, but so much bickering has been happening since beginning,” he told News18.
Highlighting the fact that Nitish had supported demonetisation, surgical strikes and, most recently, the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind as a presidential candidate, Sushil Modi has, of late, maintained that “Nitish was very uncomfortable in this alliance. He cannot run the government with people like Lalu.”
Nitish and Lalu had been bitter political opponents for over two decades but came together in 2015 during the Bihar assembly polls and trounced the BJP. Nitish was accused then by the Opposition of showing rank opportunism for tying up with Lalu, one of the rare examples of political leaders convicted by a court of law in a corruption case.
The coalition government began on a good note but a torrent of allegations and CBI raids on the Lalu family spoiled the show soon. For starters, Lalu is facing four separate trials in fodder scam cases in which regular hearing is taking place since the Supreme Court ordered in May this year that the trials must be completed within nine months.
In the recent past, Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate have carried out a series of raids at properties allegedly belonging to Lalu’s family members through benami transactions.
Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti and her husband were questioned in this regard.
While it’s alleged that Misa and her husband indirectly own 12 pieces of land, including a posh farmhouse in Bijwasan in Delhi, a shopping mall in Patna worth Rs 700 crore is allegedly owned through a complex channel by Lalu’s children, including Misa, her sister Chanda Yadav and others.
Lalu’s son and Bihar deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav is also accused of holding a bungalow in Delhi’s New Friends Colony as a benami property.
Tejaswi Yadav is also accused of owning a bungalow in Delhi’s New Friends Colony via a proxy. (Photo credit: Vivek Pathpal/Network18)
Tejaswi’s brother Tej Pratap allegedly held control of a prime property and petrol pump in Patna, licence for which was recently cancelled by a public sector oil marketing firm.
Should Nitish breakaway finally, he will have to join hands with the BJP, the erstwhile partner he broke away from in 2013 after it announced Narendra Modi as its PM candidate.
For a man who was once dubbed as the “secular” alternative to Modi, it would indeed be an interesting homecoming to fight the 2019 Lok Sabha polls alongside accepting Modi as his leader.
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