Nitish Kumar asks Tejashwi to reply 'fact-wise' in public
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday broke his silence over Tejashwi Yadav -- the younger son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, against whom a corruption case has been filed by the CBI -- saying he has zero-tolerance against corruption.
"I shall not compromise with my principles. I am firm on my resolve of zero tolerance against corruption," Nitish Kumar said while addressing his party Janata Dal-United's leaders and workers at his official residence here.
The Chief Minister's much-anticipated statement came in the wake of a series of raids on the Deputy Chief Minister and other family members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filing the corruption case against Tejashwi last week.
"I will not tolerate corruption. The CBI has not raided me," Nitish Kumar was quoted as saying by a senior party leader.
Without naming RJD chief Lalu and Tejashwi, Nitish Kumar said fact-wise reply should be given in public by those against whom allegations of corruption had surfaced.
"So far, the reply or explanation given by them is not satisfactory. They should come out with a fact-wise reply in public."
According to sources in the JD-U, Nitish Kumar said whenever there were allegations of corruption levelled against any JD-U leader, his party had taken the necessary action.
"RJD will have to take action against its leader. It is for RJD to act against Tejashwi as he has been named in a FIR by the CBI."
However, the Chief Minister said that he and his party would not break the ruling Grand Alliance. "Hum gathbandhan todenge nahi... akhri dum tak isse bachane ki koshish karenge (We will not break the Grand Alliance... we will try to save it till the end)."
The Grand Alliance comprises the JD-U, RJD and the Congress.
JD-U Spokesperson Neeraj Kumar told the media that his party wanted that those facing allegations of corruption should come out with facts in the public domain. "JD-U will not compromise on corruption and crime," he said.
Earlier, all eyes were on 1, Anne Marg, the official residence of Nitish Kumar, as he chaired the meeting of JD-U legislators and other senior party leaders on Tuesday to decide his party's stand on the CBI raids and case against Tejashwi.
This meeting had acquired extra significance in view of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders' repeated demand to sack Tejashwi and end the alliance with the RJD.
A day after the RJD announced that Tejashwi would not resign and dubbed the CBI action against him as "political conspiracy" to destabilise the Grand Alliance in Bihar, speculations were rife that Nitish Kumar and his party could demand the resignation of Tejashwi or leave it to him to save the alliance government.
To date, Nitish Kumar, who is also President of JD-U, has maintained a safe distance from the media to avoid their queries on his stand vis-a-vis the CBI raids on Lalu Prasad and his family and continuance of the RJD chief's two sons in the government.
Lalu's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav is Minister for Health in the Bihar government.
On Friday, the CBI conducted raids across four cities in connection with a corruption case in which Lalu's wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi are among the accused.
The case relates to alleged manipulation in the award of contract for maintenance of two hotels run by a subsidiary of the Indian Railways -- IRCTC -- when the RJD chief was Railway Minister in the United Progressive Alliance government.