Had to Split with Lalu as He Failed to Come Clean on Graft Charges, Went Back to 'Old Ways', Says Nitish

Suhas Munshi
·3-min read

Without taking Lalu Yadav’s name, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar alleged on Monday that his party was forced to part ways with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), with which it had formed government in 2015, because the RJD patriarch did not just refuse to come clean on corruption allegations but also “resumed his old ways”.

Kumar also alleged the RJD had treated its recently deceased veteran leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh badly in his last days.

“Why did I walk away after 1 year and 8 months? I said that you should explain the allegations against you,” Kumar said at a rally in Vaishali on the last day of campaigning for the first phase of Assembly elections in Bihar. The JD(U) chief was referring to the corruption charges against Yadav.

Kumar said the RDJ chief was “not in a position to explain himself. On the other hand, the same old practice of corruption, from thana level to all other government offices, started again.”

It is perhaps for the first time that Kumar has levelled allegations that Yadav indulged in corruption during the time of their alliance government.

“I felt that at this rate we cannot work any longer. I felt that if this (resumption of corruption) happens then we cannot work at all. That's why I left the alliance. Then the BJP gave its support and again we started doing the same sort of work that we had been doing earlier,” Kumar said at the rally.

The JD(U) and RJD had come together to form the state government in November 2015. In July 2017, Kumar walked out of the alliance citing corruption cases against Yadav and interference by him in administrative matters, and was sworn-in as the chief minister for the sixth time after joining hands with the BJP.

At the time, Yadav had criticised Kumar for playing into the hands of the RSS and wondered why the latter had allied with him in the first place since he knew about the corruption allegations all along.

Present with Kumar on the stage was Satya Prakash Singh, son of veteran socialist leader and one of the founding members of RJD, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh who passed away in September this year, and to whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi had paid homage in his opening speech in his Bihar campaign.

“Raghuvansh babu and I have a long history together, of fighting during the Emergency struggle, in the JP movement. With the same Raghuvansh babu who since early ‘90s remained by the side (of Yadav)… look how they behaved,” Kumar said.

Three days before his death, Singh reportedly wrote to Yadav stating that he had “stood by you (Lalu Yadav) for 32 years, but no more." The letter had caused a political storm in Bihar. The RJD later claimed that the letter was fake and part of a conspiracy hatched by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Talking about Singh, the JD(U) chief said, “He was a minister in the Union cabinet. He did a lot of work, whatever was within his means, he did. Today, the people who in order to get into power are trying to create rifts in society, look how they behaved with him. His health was deteriorating and look how they treated him. It was very sad. These sort of people don't consider anyone their own, except their own family.”