Bihar mahagathbandhan strained: JD(U) refuses to defend RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav from corruption allegations

The steadfast refusal of Bihar's ruling Janata Dal (United) to come to the defence of RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family against charges of corruption and acquiring land illegally by senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi seems to have strained the relationship between the allies.

Lalu Prasad Yadav. AFP

Lalu Prasad Yadav. AFP

According to a report in the New Indian Express, on Monday, the spat deepened after JD(U) Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh, who is thought to be close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, stated that his party was "under no compulsion to defend anybody."

Singh said, "We (JD-U) are not responsible to speak on this matter (BJP charges against Yadav family’s assets). People who face the charges should answer.”

Senior RJD leaders hit back at Singh. “RCP Singh is no real leader… He was a bureaucrat who was brought into politics. They (JD-U) must not make the mistake of thinking that we (RJD) are weak. It is on our votes that they are in power today,” said Bhai Birendra, a senior RJD legislator close to Yadav, according to the New Indian Express.

The Times of India reported that on Saturday, Modi claimed that Yadav illegally acquired land from his party workers in exchange for tickets and ministerial berths during UPA I regime.

Modi alleged that former union minister Kanti Singh had given land to Yadav's sons — Tej Pratap and Tejashwi — to get a berth. "Why did senior RJD members like Raghunath Jha, Kanti Singh and Premchand Gupta gift their valuable properties to Lalu Prasad's family? There is only one answer to it. To get RJD tickets and become ministers," Modi said, according to the Times of India report.

Modi has also alleged that in recent years the Yadav family owned three shell companies, which gave them prime land.

The RJD has the highest number of MLAs in the alliance. Their support to the government is crucial. It seems that the mahagathbandhan, which was formed for the 2015 Bihar Assembly election to thwart the BJP and Narendra Modi, is on shaky ground. Only time will tell if the arrangement of convenience will hold or collapse like a house of cards. Seeing the growing closeness between Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar, the latter seems likely.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 02, 2017 19:43 PM

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