The JD(U) today did not ask for the resignation of Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav named in the CBI FIR in the land-for-hotels case but asked him to "come out with facts in public against the accusations".
Chairing a crucial meeting of JD(U) legislators, ex- legislators, office bearers and district chiefs, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also JD(U) national president, was quoted as saying that his party knows how to follow "gatbandhan dharma" (coalition dharma) and also making "political sacrifices".
"Party knows how to follow gatbandhan dharma...JD(U) has a record of facing political challenges by making political sacrifices," JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar told reporters while briefing about the meeting.
Putting the ball in the court of RJD, JD(U) in a terse but bold message to its coalition partner without taking any names asked it to "explain your defence against accusations in public with facts".
Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, his father and RJD president Lalu Prasad and mother Rabri Devi, figure in the CBI FIR in the case related to three acres of land given to the family by a private party in return for licence given for hotels of IRCTC at Ranchi and Puri in 2006 when Lalu Prasad was railway minister.
But the RJD stuck to its guns and ruled out resignation of Tejaswi.
"Tejaswi Yadav's work as Deputy Chief Minister and minister of road construction and building construction has been appreciated and no allegation has been levelled against him during the period...Hence there is no question of his resignation," state RJD president Ramchandra Purbe told reporters after the JD(U) meeting.
His party colleagues Mundrika Singh Yadav and minister Shiv Chander Ram also echoed similar views.
Lalu Prasad who had gone to Ranchi for appearance in a fodder scam case has returned to Patna. Many RJD leaders have started flocking to his 10, Circular Road residence after the JD(U) meeting.
Kumar, who was in Rajgir for health reasons when raids at 12 locations including at 10, Circular Road residence of Rabri Devi was conducted by CBI last Friday, had not spoken anything on the volatile political situation.
"Our party is known for doing 'politics with a difference'," Neeraj Kumar accompanied by other spokespersons Sunil Kumar Singh, Ajay Alok and Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said.
"People of Bihar and political groups in the nation know our tradition on matters like crime and corruption," Nitish was quoted as saying in the meeting.
"There are examples in the government headed by JD(U) of taking hard decisions for sake of political proprietary," he added.
JD(U) general secretary Sanjay Jha, who was present in the meeting, said the CM told the meeting how he had tendered his resignation as railway minister on moral grounds despite then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee not in favour of it after the Gaisal train accident during NDA rule in 1999.
Though official spokesman Neeraj Kumar was tight lipped while talking about deliberations during the meeting at 1, Anne Marg which lasted for over three hours, some JD(U) legislators and other leaders were more forthcoming.
MLC Raj Kishore Kushwaha told reporters that Nitish said that "Law would take its own course while government would do its work".
Former minister and senior JD(U) leader Ramai Ram claimed a time of four days has been set (for RJD to come out with facts in public) before the party takes a future course of action.
Before the start of the meeting Sanjay Jha and others made it clear that there would be "no compromise" with Nitish's policy of "zero tolerance" against corruption.