Amid the Opposition BJP’s demand for resignation of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, following a CBI chargesheet naming him as an accused in land-for-job scam, the JD(U) on Tuesday jumped to the RJD leader’s defence, saying the Central agency had filed the chargesheet “as part of the BJP’s political vendetta”.
The RJD, meanwhile, accused the BJP of running a “witch-hunt” against top Opposition leaders and said the saffron party has “become jittery” with 15 Opposition parties coming together to take on the NDA in 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said, “CM Nitish Kumar has to take a call if he would side with those facing corruption charges or take action against them. In 2017, Nitish had exited the Mahagathbandhan after CBI filed a case against Tejashwi and others. Now when Tejashwi has been chargesheeted in the land-for-job case, will the CM defend his deputy?” He said the Bihar CM, who often takes high moral ground against corruption, owed an answer to the people of the state and the Opposition.
The BJP MP also reminded the JD(U) how its leader Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, now JD(U) national president, had demanded the resignation of Lalu Prasad after he was chargesheeted in the fodder scam cases. He said, “There cannot be two set of standards. Nitish Kumar should sack his deputy to live up to what the Bihar CM often preaches.”
JD(U)’s Rajiv Ranjan told The Indian Express: “We wonder what the CBI has got against Tejashwi now when it had earlier said it had not found any substantial evidence against him. The CBI seems to have filed the chargesheet against the Bihar deputy CM as an afterthought as part of the BJP’s political vendetta.” Ranjan added that there had been no merit in the BJP’s demand for Tejashwi’s resignation as “the case was politically motivated”.
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said: “It is typical of the BJP to ask for resignation of one or other Opposition leader. The people of the country have seen how it has launched a witch-hunt against top Opposition leaders, right from former AICC president Rahul Gandhi to former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia. The BJP has also been instrumental in splitting the Shiv Sena and the NCP. It has been targeting the RJD for a long time. The CBI chargesheet is a pure act of political vendetta, malice and vengeance against the RJD, which has always stood up against the autocracy of the BJP.”
Tiwari added that the BJP had “become jittery” with the Opposition parties coming together against NDA for 2024 polls. “Between June 23 Patna meet and the upcoming Bengaluru meet of the Opposition parties, the BJP has been trying everything to disturb and trouble the Opposition,” he said.
Sources in 10 Circular Road residence of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi said the family has been exploring legal options since the CBI filed the chargesheet against Tejashwi. A source said: “There is apprehension regarding Tejashwi’s arrest. The family has already started exploring legal options as Tejashwi is out of the country right now.”
A JD(U) source said that they were not surprised with the development given the BJP’s “continued onslaught against the RJD”. “The BJP has been trying to put pressure on the JD(U) indirectly but we stand our ground and are further emboldened to strengthen the Opposition unity as only a strong and united Opposition can thwart the BJP’s nefarious designs.”
CM Nitish Kumar, who had created a buzz with his four-day meeting with his party MPs, MLCs and MLAs till Monday, has kept away from the media.