Bihar rift widens, Tejashwi skips event attended by Nitish

Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav

The BJP legislators have also convened a meeting today.

Earlier on Friday, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had that his son Tejashwi Yadav will not resign as the deputy chief minister of Bihar.

The JD (U) also attacked RJD supremo Lalu Yadav on Saturday with the party general secretary Shyam Rajak saying that he shouldn't be evasive about corruption charges against him and his family members.

Amid reports of an apparent rift in in Bihar's "mahagathbandhan" between the Janata Dal (United) (JD (U)) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opined that although the party is heading towards a split, they are trying to put up a "brave face". The JDU leader had a calculation that his exit from the NDA would make him a Muslim messiah and overnight 18 percent Muslim votes of Bihar would get added to his vote bank which makes a formidable 30 plus number in a tri-polar Bihar contest. On the contrary, CM Kumar has likely cleared its stance to the alliance partner RJD about the ouster of the Tejashwi Yadav. The CBI is probing Tejashwi in the land-for-hotels case. While JD (U) has made a decision to support NDA Presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind, the RJD supports the Opposition candidate, Meira Kumar.

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JD (U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh advised Lalu to stand with the Grand Alliance during the ongoing "crisis".

Instead of isolating him, RJD is pondering whether all of their ministers should pull out of the Nitish government. Senior leaders in the party maintain that if he alone resigns, it will send a wrong signal, nearly of accepting the crime and bending to the JD (U)'s whims. The BJP, on the other hand, has its eyes on the formidable maha dalit votebank which is almost 50 per cent and is the core of the JD (U)'s support base. He did later describe his support as a one-off event and returned to support the Opposition candidate for vice president, Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

A senior Congress leader said that the mood in the party was to expose Mr Kumar and tarnish his image.

Sources said if Nitish insists on Tejashwi's resignation, Lalu could pull out of the government and provide outside support to the grand alliance. He said he too strongly believed in zero tolerance vis-a-vis corruption.

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