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Nitish keeps mum even as Congress comes out in support on Lalu

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    Patna, Jul 8: Congress leaders on Saturday met RJD supremo Lalu Prasad to express solidarity with him in the wake of a series of CBI raids at the premises of the former railway minister and his family members, but Nitish Kumar's JD(U) continued to maintain a silence on the issue.

    RJD supremo Lalu Prasad

    After seeing off the opposition's presidential nominee, Meira Kumar, who wound up her three-day Bihar visit today, at the airport, Bihar minister and state Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and Congress Legislature Party leader Sadanand Singh visited the 10, Circular Road residence of Rabri Devi to meet Prasad.

    Congress ministers in the Grand Alliance government Awdesh Kumar Singh and Madan Mohan Jha also accompanied them to meet the RJD president.

    Choudhary told PTI it was a "personal" visit and "not a political one." He, however, attacked the BJP for yesterday's CBI raids at 12 premises of Lalu Prasad and his family members across the country.

    "Since they (BJP) have failed to defeat us (Grand Alliance) through the people's mandate, they are now misusing the government machinery to target us," alleged Choudhary.

    Earlier, talking to reporters at the Sadaquat Ashram, the state Congress chief, who is also the education minister in Nitish Kumar's cabinet, repeated Prasad's defence, which he had put forward yesterday, that Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav was a minor at the time of the allotment of license for two IRCTC hotels to the Kochhar brothers at Ranchi and Puri, allegedly in exchange for land in Patna.

    He also blamed BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the CBI raids. While the Congress leaders stood with Lalu, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was yet to break his silence on the matter. The RJD, Congress and JD(U) are partners in the Grand Alliance government in Bihar, headed by Kumar.

    A report from Rajgir, where Kumar has been staying since Thursday due to health reasons, said the chief minister visited the famous tourist spot of Ghora Katora, but the media was not allowed inside during his visit. When contacted, Bihar JD(U) chief spokesman Sanjay Singh and spokesman Neeraj Kumar refused to comment on the issue.

    Meanwhile, RJD ministers and leaders kept rushing to Rabri Devi's residence in support of the party's "first family". RJD ministers Chandrika Rai, Abdul Gafoor, state party chief Ramchandra Purbe and a host of others were seen going inside Rabri Devi's house.


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