Lalu Yadav had advised coalition partner Nitish Kumar against voting in favour of BJP’s Ram Nath Kovind for President.
PATNA: Lalu Yadav, whose family is being investigated for corruption by central agencies, today emphatically denied reports that he attempted to “strike a deal” with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by offering to destabilise the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar, which his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) partners.
“I have never discussed anything with Jaitley or Gadkari, I would have called Modi or Amit Shah,” an indignant Lalu Yadav told NDTV, stressing that, “I will prefer to be wiped out but will never make any ideological compromise with Modi or the BJP.”
He said he would rather face the corruption charges than ask the ruling BJP to turn down the heat on him. Lalu Yadav alleges that the BJP is using fabricated charges and central agencies against him to exact political revenge for his unceasing criticism of the party and PM Modi.
Mr Yadav’s comments came just a day after he made peace with ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after a week of estrangement over the latter’s decision to break ranks with other opposition parties and support the ruling BJP’s candidate for President, Ram Nath Kovind. It was a week of name calling and unsheathed hostilities that seemed to bring their alliance in Bihar to the brink.
Lalu Yadav, who had warned Nitish Kumar that he was making a “historic blunder” by backing Mr Kovind, reportedly designed the truce. Today, he said, “The future of our mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) is very bright.”
Differences with his partner over the presidential elections were resolved, he said, describing the episode as a temporary blimp that he would “not sacrifice the government for.'”
“I am not Kalidas who will cut the tree on which I’m sitting,” he added.
While Nitish Kumar’s support for Mr Kovind has been seen by many as a signal that he wants to cut away from Lalu Yadav and is exploring new alliances, including one with the BJP, his partner’s eagerness to make sure their alliance survives and he is not out of power is not surprising, given the investigation against several members of his family including his sons, both ministers in the Bihar government.