Former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devis claim that Prashant Kishor had met her husband Lalu Prasad as an emissary of Nitish Kumar with the offer of a political realignment Saturday drew an angry rebuttal from the strategist-turned-politician who challenged the jailed RJD president for a debate, in full media glare, over the episode.
The ex-CM, who is also the RJDs national vice-president, stuck to her guns and challenged Kishor, who now holds the same post in JD(U) the party headed by the Chief Minister
to seek permission from jail authorities in Ranchi and slug it out with her imprisoned husband, who is serving sentences in fodder scam cases.
Those convicted or facing charges of abuse of public office and misappropriation of funds are claiming to be the custodians of truth, Kishor who joined the JD(U) less than a year ago- remarked in a tweet.
In the remaining half of the tweet he said in Hindi @laluprasadrjd ji may sit with me at a time of his choice. It will be known to all what transpired between us and what offer was made from either side.
Kishors outbursts came a day after Rabri Devi had said here that after having dumped the RJD-Congress combine and returned to the NDA in July, 2017 Nitish Kumar again had second thoughts and sent Prashant Kishor five times to residences allotted to her and, previously, to her younger son Tejashwi Yadav.
Rabri Devi, who is the leader of the opposition in the state legislative council, had made the explosive claim that Kishor was sent by Kumar with the offer that the RJD and the JD(U) merge together and the entity thus form declare its own Prime Ministerial candidate ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
I flared up and asked him (Kishor) to leave as in the wake of Nitish Kumars betrayal, I was left with no trust in him, she had claimed.
When asked about Kishors challenge, Rabri Devi snapped then let him go and have a debate with him (Lalu). Who is stopping him? Let him go, seek necessary permission from the jail authorities and then have his wish fulfilled.
Meanwhile, Tejashwi Yadav, over allegations of corruption against whom Kumar had made the dramatic turnaround, questioned the silence of the Chief Minister over the alleged episode which came to light after Lalu Prasad first came out with the claim in his recently-published autobiography.
I do not wish to speak about Prashant Kishor. He was not the active player. Why is Nitish Kumar keeping quiet? If he is sure Lalu ji, my mother and I are not speaking the truth then he should break his silence. Even the Congress, which is our ally, is privy to the proposal mooted by Kishor, Yadav, who served as Deputy CM until Kumars exit from the Grand Alliance and has taken over as leader of opposition in state assembly, told reporters here.
After their parties were swept away in the Narendra Modi wave of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, arch rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad had forged an alliance and succeeded in trouncing the NDA in the assembly polls that were held a year later.
Kumar, who had suddenly resigned as Chief Minister in July, 2017 heeding his inner voice, formed a new government within less than 24 hours with support of the BJP against which he had fought in the Lok Sabha as well as Vidhan Sabha polls.
Companion since days of Patna University politics, Prasad and Kumar had long association with each other before they separared in mid-90s.
As a key strategist, Kumar used to be known as "Lalu's Chanakya" after the latter became the leader of the opposition in 1989 in the Bihar assembly after death of veteran socialist leader Karpoori Thakur.
He had also played an important role in making Prasad Chief Minister of Bihar in 1990.
But, by 1994, differences had started to crop up between the two top leaders of Mandal campaign, that led to providing reservation in government jobs to the OBC.
Three years later, Lalu broke away from the party to form Rashtriya Janata Party (RJD) in 1997. The same year, Lalu lost the chief minister's chair because of his alleged involvement in the fodder scam but in an unexpected move made wife Rabri Devi the chief minister.
After a long fight, Kumar managed to finally remove RJD from the power in 2005. Since, then Kumar has been serving as CM except for a brief period in 2014 when he had quit the post after his party got a drubbing in the hands of Narendra Modi's BJP and appointed Jitan Ram Manjhi on the seat.
Kumar and Prasad joined hands in 2015 and defeated the BJP in Bihar assembly election. But, they parted company again in July 2017 over graft charges against Tejashwi Yadav.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)