Amid war of words between ruling Grand Alliance partners JD(U) and RJD over their choice of different presidential poll candidates, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav today cautioned coalition leaders to maintain ‘restraint’ while issuing statements. “Leaders and workers of Grand Alliance should maintain restraint while making any statement,” Tejashwi said. Tejaswhi, the younger son of RJD president Prasad, also asserted that “the Grand Alliance is rock solid like the Himalaya. So far, no offensive statement has been made by JD(U) against RJD national president Lalu Prasad,” he said.
Tejashwi’s statement comes in the backdrop of statements and counter statements being made by RJD and JD(U) leaders in the wake of the two parties deciding to back different candidates in the presidential poll. JD(U) has expressed its support for NDA presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind, former Bihar governor, while RJD and Congress are backing opposition candidate Meira Kumar, former Lok Sabha speaker.
RJD sources said that Prasad has also asked his party spokesmen to dispel ‘confusion’ being run in media about the two coalition partners taking different paths on this issue. Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said that Nitish Kumar’s decision to support Kovind has come as a setback to the efforts to put up a nationwide ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) as an alternative to BJP.
“We are tolerating them (JDU) and we will continue to tolerate them just to contain BJP,” Singh said. JD(U)’s state unit president Bashishtha Narayan Singh expressed displeasure over such a statement terming it as a clear violation of alliance’s dignity. “I will request Lalu Prasad ji to control such leaders,” state JD(U) chief spokesman Sanjay Singh said.
The war of words started on June 22 after Prasad stated that he would appeal to Nitish Kumar not to commit “a historical blunder” by supporting Kovind. Prasad had made the comment after attending the opposition’s meeting that picked Meira Kumar as its candidate for President’s poll.