Patna, Sep 13: As cracks appeared in ruling Grand Secular Alliance in Bihar following war of words between major partners JD(U) and RJD, Lalu Prasad today sought to play down the controversy, saying the so called "turmoil" was a media creation as he asserted that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is the leader of the coalition.
The RJD president, however, defended party strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin, saying he did not made any derogatory comments. "This turmoil is created by the media," Prasad told reporters at Patna airport.
With fissures appearing in the ruling coalition following RJD vice-president Raghubansh Prasad Singh's remarks on Kumar while supporting Shahabuddin's comment that he was "Chief Minister by circumstance", Prasad asserted "Nitish Kumar is the leader of the coalition."
"The coalition is intact and there is no danger to it," Prasad, whose son Tejaswi Yadav is Deputy Chief Minister and another son Tej Pratap Yadav is the state Health Minister, said.
While he did not see any "derogatory" contents in the utterances of Shahabuddin while coming out of Bhagalpur jail on Saturday after getting bail from the Patna High Court, the RJD chief did not appreciate comments of Raghubansh Prasad Singh on Kumar.
"Despite telling him repeatedly, Raghubansh Singh speaks something to media," he said, adding he would speak to everybody within the party and tell them categorically not to make unnecessary comments about coalition.
On Shahabuddin saying that for him Prasad is the leader and Kumar is Chief Minister due to circumstance, the RJD chief said, "He is a member of RJD, so what is wrong if he says I am his leader."
He said Shahabuddin's release was part of a judicial process and the government had no role in it. "Shahabuddin walked out of jail after 11 years on the basis of bail from the Patna High Court," he said.
On Shahabuddin's comment that Kumar is "not a mass leader", Prasad said no one becomes a mass leader on someone's comment in favour or against it. Asked if he agreed to Shahabuddin's comment that Kumar was "circumstantial" chief minister, Prasad told mediaperson not to irritate him.