Tejashwi skips Nitish event; CM distances himself from RJD minister on dais
With Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav skipping an official function with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna, it seems the fate of Bihar's Grand Alliance is hanging in the balance. However, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has rejected the speculations about any separation in the alliance and dubbed the incident as a mere coincidence.
"The Deputy CM was pre-occupied with some other commitment and it's not happening for the first time. There were several occasions in the past, when the Deputy CM had skipped the official function with the CM. The alliance will remain intact and there is nothing to read from the incident," RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said, adding that Tejashwi would not fall into the trap of occupants of 11 Ashoka Road – the central office of BJP.
Tejashwi, who is RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav's younger son, was scheduled to attend a programme marking the first anniversary of 'Vishwa Yuva Kaushal Divas' at Patna's Gyan Bhawan. He was listed as a distinguished guest in a promotional pamphlet for the event. Though, RJD has rejected.
The organisers initially covered the nameplate of Tejashwi, the special guest at the function whose seat was next to the chief minister's, but later removed it. The function was held to mark the World Youth Skill Day. The matter did not end here. Kumar, who was sitting next to Labour Resources Minister and RJD leader Vijay Prakash, subsequently swapped his seat with JD(U) minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh, who was sitting on his right. This was seen as an attempt by the chief minister to maintain a distance with the RJD minister.
The episode was captured in still as well as video cameras of the electronic media to show how the acrimony between the two Grand Alliance partners was growing with every passing day in the wake of the CBI registering an FIR against Tejashwi and others in connection with a land-for-hotels scam case.
The developments on the dais at the newly-built Gyan Bhawan here came a day after RJD chief Lalu Prasad rejected the possibility of his son Tejashwi putting in his papers, a move seen as being dismissive of the JD(U) putting pressure on the deputy chief minister to quit.
When the reporters bombarded the chief minister with questions on Tejashwi skipping the function, he only smiled and extended skill day greetings to the scribes. Labour Minister Vijay Prakash, who is from the RJD, said, "I do not know why Tejashwiji did not come to the function."