The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 11 , 2016

Lalu bins talks of alliance rift

- All well with Nitish & me, says RJD chief

RJD chief Lalu Prasad outside 10 Circular Road in Patna on Monday. Telegraph picture

Patna, Oct. 10: RJD chief Lalu Prasad today stressed all is well in the Grand Alliance government and claimed there is no animosity with chief minister Nitish Kumar on any issue.

Lalu's comments over his two party leaders Mohammad Shahabuddin and suspended MLA Raj Ballabh Prasad has hit the headlines in recent days. A verbal war had broken out between the JDU and the RJD on Shahabuddin's bail and the matter escalated when Raj Ballabh spent over two hours with Lalu at his 10 Circular Road residence last week.

"The Opposition has become restless, I have a deep friendship with Nitish, we talk to each other on a daily basis and last night also I called Nitish to wish him a happy Durga Puja. I am again telling you that there is closeness between me and Nitish," Lalu said, while sitting in a swanky caravan along with senior socialist leader Shivanand Tiwari.

Lalu was on his way to Ara for the final rites of Ram Ekbal Warsi, freedom fighter and socialist leader who died this morning.

The timing of Raj Ballabh's meeting with Lalu was very crucial because it was a day prior to the hearing of his bail cancellation plea in the Supreme Court that the state government had moved. Lalu, on the other hand, had defended meeting with the rape-accused MLA saying he could not throw him out of his house.

The Opposition had raised serious objections to Raj Ballabh's meeting with Lalu and claimed the government was giving the MLA a free hand because he was from the RJD. Talks were on in political circles that Nitish was upset too that Lalu gave time to Raj Ballabh when the government filed a special leave petition to cancel his bail.

"The relation between Nitish and Lalu is intact, it is the BJP who wants to create tremors in our relationshop which will never happen," said Lalu. "The Grand Alliance government will keep on functioning smoothly. On the occasion of Navratra, I urge the people of Bihar to celebrate the occasion with holiness and brotherhood."

Former chief minister Rabri Devi, who was with her eldest son and health minister Tej Pratap Yadav at 3 Desh Ratna Marg, also prayed to Goddess Durga for the Grand Alliance government to run its complete term.

"On the auspicious occasion of Navratra, I have prayed to Goddess Durga that the Grand Alliance government must finish its five years. I have also prayed for prosperity and peace in society apart from brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims," Rabri said sitting with Tej Pratap.

Opposition leaders, on the other hand, again raised questions over Nitish and Lalu's unity, claiming that the RJD chief could say whatever he pleased but it was not visible on the ground.

BJP MLC and chief spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha said: "It is hard to believe that they are united. In Uttar Pradesh, Nitish is campaigning against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu will campaign in support of Mulayam. Similarly in Punjab, Lalu is going to campaign for Akali Dal. Raj Ballabh is meeting Lalu when the Bihar government has gone to the apex court to cancel his bail. Both Nitish and Lalu are running two different governments, there is a clear conflict between them. I can bet that nothing is well between the leaders."

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