Confirming the development, Congress spokesperson Harendra Kumar Verma said, “Soniaji dialled Lalu and Nitish as she was worried about their strained relationship and wanted them to be united. Now that she has spoken to them, I feel everything will be alright within a couple of days.”
Verma said that Sonia requested both the leaders to save the government “at any cost” as it was imperative to keep the BJP at bay.
Sonia’s phone call to Lalu and Nitish came as the JD(U) upped the pressure on Lalu, asking him to “come clean” on the charges “as demanded by the opposition (BJP).”
Lalu, his wife Rabri, and son Tejashwi, who is the deputy chief minister of Bihar, have been booked by the CBI for allegedly influencing the awarding of an IRCTC tender in 2005. Lalu, who was the railway minister then, has been accused of accepting three acres of prime land for awarding the contract to Sujata Hotel Private Limited. His family allegedly used a benami property to acquire the land.
Pressure has been mounting on Tejashwi to step down as the deputy CM to protect the ‘Mr. Clean’ image of CM Nitish Kumar, but the RJD has so far ruled out his resignation. It has also denied a rift in the grand alliance over the issue.
Sources, however, told CNN-News18 that Tejashwi may step down if Lalu says so after his return to Patna.
Lalu recently refuted the allegations and vowed to “uproot” the NDA government at the Centre before it completes its five-year term. “Listen, you BJP and RSS people, Lalu will drag you off the seat of power in Delhi, no matter what happens to me. Get it straight… Don’t you dare threaten me,” he had said.