Bihar's strained ruling coalition appeared to fray further on Tuesday as the Janata Dal (United) gave senior partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) three to four days to dispel corruption allegations against deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and his father, Lalu Prasad.
The announcement came amid mounting pressure on chief minister Nitish Kumar to sack Tejashwi, who along with Lalu is facing charges in an alleged land-for-hotels scandal that saw the CBI raiding their homes and other properties last week.
"Nitish has put the ball in RJD's court," said senior JD(U) leader Ramai Ram.
Sources said Nitish stopped short of asking for Tejashwi's resignation because a chargesheet hadn't been filed in the case. The CM is said to be upset because his clean image is sullied by the allegations but doesn't want to break the coalition by pushing for Lalu's younger son to quit.
"Those who were charged should put the facts before the public…we have proved before the nation that we have zero tolerance for corruption," said Neeraj Kumar, state spokesman of JD(U), after a four-hour meeting of top party leaders chaired by Nitish.
The RJD has ruled out Tejashwi's resignation and called the allegations a BJP conspiracy.
The JD(U), which has 71 MLAs compared to the RJD's 80, gave the example of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi who was asked to resign when graft charges surfaced against him in 2005. The party is expected to convene later in the week if the RJD doesn't come to a decision by then.(hindustantimes.com)