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Sonia Gandhi speaks to Nitish, Lalu; tries to save 'Mahagathbandhan'

By Oneindia Staff Writer
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    Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to save the turbulent alliance rocked by corruption charges against Lalu and his family members, reports said.

    The top Congress leader's desperate attempt to save the crumbling grand alliance comes after Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) made it clear that the party is ready to walk out of the government if Lalu's son Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav fails to come out clean over corruption allegations.

    Sonia Gandhi speaks to Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad; tries to save 'Mahagathbandhan'

    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,' News18 quoted him as saying.

    Verma also said that Sonia requested both the leaders to save the government "at any cost" as it was imperative to keep the BJP at bay.

    The CBI raided the residence of former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 11 other locations after registering a case of corruption against the RJD chief and his family.

    It is alleged that Yadav as Railway Minister handed over maintenance of two Railway hotels BNR Ranchi and Puri to Sujata Hotel (a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar) after receiving a bribe in the form of prime land of three acres through a benami company.

    The FIR alleged that Lalu Prasad Yadav as railway minister abused his official position for extending undue favours to Kochhars, acquired a "high value premium land" through a benami company Delight and as a quid pro quo, dishonestly and fraudulently managed award of leasing BNRs at Ranchi and Puri to the company of Kochhars.

    The CBI has registered the case against Lalu Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav, now Deputy CM Bihar, Sarla Gupta, wife of Prem Chand Gupta, former union minister.

    Subsequently, 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.

    (With agency inputs)

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