Playing down the political significance of the meeting between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday, Janata Dal(United) today reiterated its stand that the RJD leader should clear all accusations against him on the basis of facts in the public domain. The JD(U) dubbed the 45-minute-long closed-door discussion between the two leaders after the Cabinet meeting yesterday as "routine" which was not political in nature.
The JD(U) sought to dispel the notion that the impasse in the Grand Alliance government, cropping up after the lodging of an FIR by the CBI against Tejashwi Yadav allegedly for amassing huge wealth has ended following the meeting. Tejashwi is an accused in the land-for-hotels case, allegedly involving the members of his father and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's family.
"It was a routine meeting of a Cabinet colleague with the CM over some governmental matters and not a political one ... Our stand remains the same that those facing accusations should reply to them in the public domain," JD(U) spokesman Ajay Alok said.
Another JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad termed the meeting as "normal" in connection with governmental works.
Everything is fine after meeting, claims RJD
The RJD, however, rated high the meeting between Kumar and Yadav.
"There is no matbhed (difference in opinion) between us. Grand Alliance is strong," RJD leader and minister Vijay Prakash said.
His elder brother and RJD MP Jay Prakash Yadav claimed "Everything is fine."
Former RJD minister Shivanand Tiwari, who is in constant touch with RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav, said "after the talks, the situation arising out of lack of dialogue has ended and the vehicle is now back on track."
The meeting between the two leaders took place yesterday away from the media glare. Mediapersons were barred entry into the secretariat, the venue of the Cabinet meeting, following a scuffle between Tejashwi Yadav and his minister Tej Pratap Yadav's securitymen and mediamen after the last one on Wednesday.
Nitish, who has not said anything on the controversy publicly, had invited Tejashwi to his chamber for a closed-door discussion after the Cabinet meeting. According to informed sources, the deputy CM is believed to have told his superior that he would not resign from the post and will instead take legal route to clear his name. He is believed to have cited the example of Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand -- Virbhadra Singh, Yogi Adityananath, Raghubar Das respectively -- who have stayed in their posts amid legal troubles.
The press briefing by the Cabinet Coordination Department Secretary Brajesh Mehrotra too was shifted to the Public Relations Department office some distance away instead of at the secretariat as in the past.
'Break silence', BJP urges Nitish
The BJP and NDA leaders appeared unimpressed over the meeting and attacked Kumar for not taking a call on Yadav.
Senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav urged Kumar to break his silence on Tejashwi Yadav.
JD(U) has sought "point-by-point" clarification from Tejashwi Yadav over the accusations against him. "A closed door meeting between the chief minister and deputy chief minister is not the proper answer to it," he told PTI.
Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi described the goings on in the Grand Alliance as "noora kushti" (friendly fight) to keep hanging to the power."