Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan has trashed suggestions that he parted ways with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) because of differences over seat-sharing for the Bihar assembly election, and accused the Chief Minister of harming the Dalit community by creating a sub-group of Mahadalits.
Chirag Paswan said his party had fought the Lok Sabha polls last year in alliance with the JD(U) because of the “compulsions” brought on by the return to the NDA of Nitish Kumar, whose party he accused of working against LJP candidates in the general elections in violation of the coalition dharma.
The 37-year-old, who recently lost his father Ram Vilas Paswan, the charismatic LJP founder, also alleged that Nitish Kumar had behaved “haughtily” when the late Union Minister had called on him last year with the request to accompany him for filing nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha.
Ram Vilas Paswan was a Rajya Sabha member and Union Minister at the time of his death.
“I met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda so many times in the recent past. Not once did the issue of seat-sharing crop up,” Chirag Paswan told news agency Press Trust of India in an interview, rubbishing suggestions that he raised a banner of revolt against the JD(U) after the latter tried to deny his party a fair share of seats.
“It must be kept in mind that the LJP has never been a fan of Nitish Kumar’s style of politics. He has harmed the Dalits by creating a sub-group of Mahadalits for his own political gains,” he said.
Chirag Paswan, who has to carry forward the political legacy of his father, of being the tallest Dalit leader in Bihar since the redoubtable Jagjivan Ram, was bitter about how Nitish Kumar treated the LJP founder.
“Nitish Kumar remarked mockingly that my father could not have got elected to the Rajya Sabha without the JD(U)s support since we had only two MLAs. He should remember that my father was promised a Rajya Sabha berth by the then BJP chief Amit Shah himself,” he said.
“And I felt so belittled when Nitish behaved in a haughty manner when my father called on him with the request that he accompany us for filing of nomination papers. He came only after the mahurat (auspicious timing) decided for the occasion had passed. No son could have taken such a treatment lying down,” he said.
The LJP chief also rubbished the Chief Ministers saat nishchay (seven resolves) for public welfare, saying while the rest of the country was making so much progress, he was still talking about piped water and construction of concrete roads and alleys.
“The Chief Minister never tires of proclaiming zero tolerance for corruption, crime and communalism. This flies in the face of the fact that graft has hit the implementation of every government scheme in the state. Horrific incidents like the recent burning alive of a woman after rape took place in Buxar district.”
“And communalism? What does he have to say about the comments of Nityanand Rai? He owes an answer. Unlike us, he is still a part of the NDA in Bihar,” Mr Paswan said.
Nityanand Rai, the Union Minister of State for Home and a senior BJP leader, was recently panned by the opposition for his remark at a recent poll rally that the RJD’s victory will turn Bihar into a safe haven for Kashmiri terrorists. His comment was seen by the NDA’s rivals as an attempt at communal polarisation ahead of the elections.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)