Patna: The political buzz in Bihar intensified on Sunday as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on his return to Patna after staying away from the state capital for several days, immediately cancelled all important meetings, including his weekly Lok Samvad programme, that were scheduled for Monday. The political heat is also likely to rise further in Patna on Monday as RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav has called a meeting of his party legislators to discuss the future course of action.
While the Congress has extended its full support to the RJD, a long studied silence from the Nitish Kumar camp has given rise to murmurs and uncertainty in the Grand Secular Alliance. The RJD leaders are likely to raise this issue during the meeting on Monday. Mr Kumar has been staying away from Patna, where the political temperature had gone up considerably in the past one week after the CBI raided the property of Lalu Yadav. his wife Rabri Devi and his family members, including his son Tejashwi, who is Bihar’s deputy Chief Minister.
The CMO issued a statement citing Mr Nitish Kumar’s ill-health as the reason for the cancellation of the Lok Samvad programme. But in political circles, the move is being regarded as his attempt to avoid uncomfortable questions on his ties with the RJD in the wake of these development. Insiders said Mr Kumar also wanted to avoid sharing space with deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, against whom the CBI has registered an FIR. Pressure has been mounting on Nitish Kumar to remove Tejashwi Yadav, but so far he has not given any signals about his plans — on whether he intends to drop Tejashwi Yadav from his Cabinet immediately or wait for the CBI to file a chargesheet against him.
He has, however, called a meeting of his party leaders on Tuesday to discuss the future course of action after the CBI raids on Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family. On Sunday, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said Mr Kumar's silence on the issue has damaged the tag of "good governance". He said that earlier on many occasions thet "the chief minister sought the resignation of many Cabinet ministers after their names figured in corruption cases... Nitish Kumar must show courage and force deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav to resign as he had done when Jitan Ram Manjhi's name had surfaced in a corruption case and (he) was asked to resign within four hours of taking the oath".