Despite in jail, Lalu in touch with his aides on phone, claims Nitish Kumar


Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday accused his arch rival and RJD chief Lalu Prasad of being in touch with his associates through telephone in contravention of the rules applicable to those serving prison sentence. The charge made by Kumar, who heads JD(U), was denied by Prasads elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, who said he himself has not been able to talk to his father for more than a month. In an interview to a private news channel which is likely to be telecast later this week, but excerpts of which are telecast by news channels, Kumar spoke about Prashant Kishor, a formal poll strategist who was inducted by him into the JD(U) last year, denying that he has been sidelined in the party. Also read| It is well known that Lalu keeps telephoning people, rules may be damned, Kumar said. While denying the charge, Tej Pratap Yadav claimed it has been more than a month since I had a word with my father. People meet Prasad on Saturdays, as per the jail manual, and Kumar is making a baseless allegation out of fear that he may be beaten during the Lok Sabha polls. Prasad is serving sentences in a number of fodder scam cases that pertain to fraudulent withdrawal of money from the treasury during the period he was the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar in the early 1990s. He is currently lodged at the RIMS hospital in Ranchi on account of multiple ailments. The Bihar CM also spoke candidly about Prashant Kishor, who after being inducted in the party by Kumar last year was catapulted to the post of national vice-president within a short time. I have excellent relations with Prashant and he has great regard for me. He also gets due respect in the party but if he has any misgivings, it is another matter, Kumar said in response to a query about speculations that Kishor has fallen out of favor with the party boss, resulting in his being sidelined. He is not at all sidelined. He is among our campaigners for the Lok Sabha pollsbut in politics things do happen, Kumar said apparently referring to Kishor being kept out of strategic decisions like decision on candidates. About the impression that being the partys national vice-president Kishor was no. 2 in the party, Kumar said numbers are a matter of analysis. Kumars statement was in sync with his earlier stance wherein he had dismissed talks of Kishor being his political successor with the remark successions take place in a monarchy. He also stressed that working as a political strategist for different parties is different from starting career as a politician as Kishor is now doing. Kumar also expressed strong displeasure with BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Husain blaming his JD(U) for his being denied a ticket from Bhagalpur which he had lost in 2014 but had represented previously. I am told he (Husain) is a member of his partys state election committee. Does he not know that we never pressed for Bhagalpur. And does he not even remember that when he first got elected from the constituency, it was through a by-election necessitated by Sushil Kumar Modi (Deputy CM) vacating the seat and my pushing his candidature, Kumar said. The only seat the JD-U insisted on was Darbhanga, which finally went to BJP, he said. I would like the BJP to come out with an explanation which could clear the air and would advise him (Husain) to refrain from making comments which could be detrimental to him, Kumar warned.

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