Janata Dal (United) on Saturday said that Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav should refrain from becoming the leader of the opposition since he has corruption and criminal cases against him.

At a joint press conference, JD(U) state president Vashishtha Narayan Singh, working president Ashok Choudhary and spokespersons Sanjay Singh, Neeraj Kumar and Ajay Alok criticised Yadav for targeting Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over appointing Mewa Lal Chaudhary the education minister.

Chaudhary resigned three days after taking oath as the education minister in Kumar’s Cabinet. His appointment was heavily criticised by the Opposition in Bihar, particularly Yadav, who pointed out that Chaudhary was selected for the post despite the fact that he was charged with several offences, including cheating and criminal conspiracy.

“When Mewa Lal Chaudhary was accused [of corruption], he resigned,” Sanjay Singh said. “Now I want to request Tejashwi ji to refrain from becoming the leader of opposition till he has charges of corruption on him, till he is proven not guilty.”

They said Yadav had a number of cases lodged against him under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and even the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, unlike Nitish Kumar, who has a clean record. “On one hand, there is the face of [RJD supremo] Lalu Yadav, which signifies the violence, corruption and crime in Bihar... and one side there is Nitish Kumar’s face that signifies the peace, development, and a growing Bihar,” Alok said.

They also alleged that Yadav had not disclosed the full details of cases against him while filing his nomination papers from the Raghopur Assembly seat. They urged the Election Commission to take note of this “deliberate omission”.

The JD(U) leaders added that the chief minister had zero-tolerance policy for crime and corruption. Chaudhary resigned because of this as the party had consistently taken action against those mired in corruption, they said. They added that Kumar was not shielding Chaudhary, saying that the state government has asked the superintendent of police of the district concerned to go ahead with the prosecution. The governor’s nod is pending in the matter.