The acrimony between the JD(U) and the RJD seems to have reached a flashpoint with Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav today skipping a government function, which was attended by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The organisers initially covered the nameplate of Tejaswi, the special guest at the function whose seat was next to the chief minister's, but later removed it.
The function was held to mark the World Youth Skill Day.
The matter did not end here. Kumar, who was sitting next to Labour Resources Minister and RJD leader Vijay Prakash, subsequently swapped his seat with JD(U) minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh, who was sitting on his right. This was seen as an attempt by the chief minister to maintain a distance with the RJD minister.
The episode was captured in still as well as video cameras of the electronic media to show how the acrimony between the two Grand Alliance partners was growing with every passing day in the wake of the CBI registering an FIR against Tejaswi and others in connection with a land-for-hotels scam case.
The developments on the dais at the newly-built Gyan Bhawan here came a day after RJD chief Lalu Prasad rejected the possibility of his son Tejaswi putting in his papers, a move seen as being dismissive of the JD(U) putting pressure on the deputy chief minister to quit.
The name plaque of RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav was first covered with a piece of cloth and soon removed from the dais.https://t.co/zExxQXXSXf— New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) July 15, 2017
When the reporters bombarded the chief minister with questions on Tejaswi skipping the function, he only smiled and extended skill day greetings to the scribes.
Labour Minister Vijay Prakash, who is from the RJD, said, "I do not know why Tejaswiji did not come to the function."
On Kumar "distancing" himself from Prakash, minister Jai Kumar Singh of the JD(U) claimed that the chief minister changed his seat to have a "better view" of the television screen.
With both the JD(U) and RJD hardening their stand, the rift within the Grand Alliance in the wake of the CBI lodging an FIR against Tejaswi, Lalu, Rabri Devi and five others, following raids in connection with the land-for-hotels case is festering on, posing a question mark on the survival of the coalition, in which the Congress is the third party.
The RJD and the Congress have called a joint meeting of their MLAs tomorrow to discuss the presidential poll strategy, while the JD(U) has convened a separate meeting of its MLAs at the chief minister's official residence.