Amid the reports that all is not well within Bihar's ruling "Grand Alliance", Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday advised his party legislators to first talk to him before going to the media to air their grievances relating to the three-party formation that is led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who belongs to Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
Sensing growing tension within the Grand Alliance -- comprising the JD(U), RJD and the Congress --after his party legislators repeatedly questioned and attacked Nitish Kumar and his "Saat Nischay" (seven resolves) programme, Lalu Prasad tried to play the peacemaker.
The RJD chief told media persons here that he has asked his party MLAs not to issue statements about anything without consulting him. "I have asked them not to give statements in the media and talk to me first about their grievances or whatever it is," he said.
Lalu Prasad said this after some JD-U leaders expressed displeasure over several RJD legislators attacking Nitish Kumar and his government's seven resolves programme and the legislators' funds.
JD-U spokesperson Sanjay Singh said targeting of the Nitish Kumar-led government by the RJD legislators was not good for the Grand Alliance. "Some leaders of RJD have been doing everything to defame the state government. JD-U will not tolerate this any more."
Singh, considered close to Nitish Kumar, said the RJD cannot cite any instance of a JD-U leader criticising Lalu Prasad ever since their alliance came into existence in 2015. "If JD-U leaders have not targeted and attacked Laluji, why should JD-U tolerate such acts by RJD leaders?"
Another JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said: "We can't tolerate criticism by those who are part of the government led by Nitish Kumar. It is not proper to criticise one's own government."
On Monday, a former RJD minister projected deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav as the successor of Nitish Kumar, a statement publicly supported by several RJD leaders.
“In Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, a young leader, has been ruling successfully as chief minister for five years. The time has come now for a young leader, Tejaswi Yadav, to be made chief minister of Bihar,” said Belaganj MLA and former minister Surendra Yadav in Gaya on Monday.
Tejashwi is the younger son of Lalu Yadav and is seen as his political successor.
Last month, in a show of unity in the Grand Alliance, its top leaders, including Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad, senior JD-U leader Sharad Yadav and state Congress President Ashok Choudhary, attended a "Lok Samvad" meet here.
Seeking to lay to rest speculations of differences within the ruling coalition, they claimed that the alliance stands united. This was the first-ever show of unity since the JD-U-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance came into existence in November 2015 to form the government led by Nitish Kumar.
Nitish also took a different stand from his coalition partners and supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation drive which was announced in November last year.