Beleaguered LJP leader Chirag Paswan on Tuesday expressed gratitude for the support received from RJD president Lalu Prasad, recalling the “cordial relations” the latter shared with his late father Ram Vilas Paswan.
The chief of the erstwhile undivided LJP, however, ducked queries about Prasad’s suggestion that Chirag should team up with his son Tejashwi Yadav who has emerged as the rising star of the RJD. “Lalu ji had madhur sambandh (cordial relations) with my father and political mentor Ram Vilas Paswan. I respect his feelings but my priority is the ‘Ashirwad Yatra’ and making my organisation strong. Any discussions on alliance in Bihar or UP will be done near elections. I thank him for lending credence to my leadership,” Chirag said.
He was responding to queries about remarks made by Prasad, who has been in Delhi since his release from jail earlier this year. The remarks that crisis in the LJP in fact established Chirag as a leader were made by the septuagenarian after a meeting with veteran socialist leader Sharad Yadav, a former president of the JD(U) controlled by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with whom the latter fell out in course of time.
“Whatever happened (rift in LJP), Chirag Paswan continues to be the leader of LJP. Yes, I want them…(to be together),” RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had said when asked on Chirag Paswan-Tejashwi Yadav alliance in Bihar.
The Jamui MP has been cornered within his own party following the rebellion staged by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, cousin Prince Raj and other LJP MPs.
The rebellious faction, which has been recognized by the Lok Sabha Speaker though the move has been challenged by Chirag, has squarely blamed the son of its late founding president for the party cutting a sorry figure in the assembly elections last year. Chirag had pulled out of the NDA ahead of the polls, claiming that the people of Bihar were fed up with Nitish Kumar and yearning for a change in leadership.
He had, however, paradoxically claimed to be loyal to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi – their backing to Kumar for another term in office notwithstanding.
The saffron party, however, owing to the indispensability of Kumar in Bihar, seems to have distanced itself from the belligerent, hot-blooded leader. Chirag has been suspecting the JD(U)’s hand in the split suffered by his party.
On Monday, he alleged that Nitish Kumar’s recent posturing on issues like Pegasus, population bill and caste census and the claim of some JD(U) leaders that the Bihar Chief Minister was “PM material” pointed towards a plan to “snatch” the top post from Narendra Modi.
With PTI inputs