In a clear sign of a deepening rift in the ruling coalition in Bihar, Lalu Yadav's son and Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav skipped an event where he was to share a dais with chief minister Nitish Kumar.
News Agency ANI in a tweet reported, "Patna: Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav's name plate covered, later removed, in an event to be attended by CM Nitish Kumar".
Amid the spat, Tejashwi skipped a function on Saturday that chief minister Kumar attended.
Sonia's phone call to Lalu and Nitish came after the JD (U) increased its pressure on Lalu, asking him to "come clean" on the corruption charges, as also demanded by the opposition BJP.
Lalu Prasad's rigid stance that Tejashwi would not quit "under any circumstances" because "an FIR is not a sufficient reason for resignation" led to a fresh bout of finger-pointing among leaders of the JD (U) and RJD. On the JD (U) seeking a point-bypoint explanation to the public, Lalu had said they would let the people know everything in detail at an RJD rally on August 27.
"RJD won 80 seats only because of the good and clean image of Nitish Kumar".
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The RJD chief had also said that the grand alliance in Bihar is an unbreakable bond.
Yadav said BJP was after him because he had highlighted the prime minister's "broken promises" to youths, farmers and workers, and asserted that the RJD would not rest till they ousted the saffron party not only from Bihar but from the entire country. "The JDU leaders are anxious that Tejashwi will, rightly so, because we are the largest party, stake a claim to the post of the CM and that is why the JDU sees this whole development as an appropriate time to cut him and the RJD to size", an RJD functionary, who is considered close to Lalu Yadav, said.
RJD sources told The Hindu: "Laluji has nurtured this alliance; he had even campaigned strenuously for JD (U) candidates in 2015. There is no question at all of ending it", he said.
In Delhi, JD (U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said chief minister Nitish Kumar would never compromise on the issue of corruption.
RJD leaders rubbished such protestations and continued citing RJD's numerical edge in the Assembly.