Patna: Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United asked an embattled deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, an accused in the land-for-hotels scandal, to "come out with facts in public against the accusations" but stopped short of demanding his resignation.
Amid reports of a widening rift between JD-U and ally Rashtriya Janata Dal, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads the 3-party coalition government in the state which also includes the Congress, chaired a meeting of JD-U legislators, party office bearers and district unit chiefs where he referred to political sacrifices he made for ensuring probity in public life.
Though Kumar did not speak to media after the meeting, which came a day after Lalu Prasad's RJD rejected the BJP's demand for Tejashwi's resignation, his reference to "political sacrifice" was being seen as a message to the alliance partner to ensure that his deputy either came clean on the issue or there could be some turmoil in the ruling coalition.
"The party knows how to follow gathbandhan (coalition) dharma...JD-U has a record of facing political challenges and making political sacrifices," JD-U spokesman Neeraj Kumar told reporters while briefing about the meeting. Though he did not name Tejashwi or Kumar, the JD(U) spokesman said the ball was now in RJD's court. "Explain your defence against the accusations in public with facts," Neeraj Kumar said.
Lalu Prasad, his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi have been named as accused in a CBI case relating to transfer of three acres of prime land in Patna to the family by two businessmen allegedly in return for licences to run two IRCTC hotels in Ranchi and Puri when the RJD chief was railway minister.