Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which bore the brunt of Chirag Paswan’s brinkmanship in the assembly polls last year, on Monday said the LJP president was reaping what he had sown.
JD(U) national president RCP Singh reacted with a sense of vindication to the developments in the party founded by late Ram Vilas Paswan, whose son has been left cornered in a revolt led by the former’s younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras and supported by four other MPs, including nephew Prince Raj.
“It is a well known adage that as you sow, so you reap. Chirag Paswan was heading a party which was with the NDA. Yet, he adopted a stance that damaged it in the assembly polls. This led to a sense of unease within his own party,” Mr Singh told reporters in Patna.
Chirag Paswan had opened a front against Nitish Kumar in the elections, fielding nominees against all JD(U) candidates, many of them rebels from the BJP. He had claimed that he wanted to help the saffron party form its own government in the state where the people yearned for a change in leadership.
Although the NDA managed to secure a majority and Kumar was backed for another term, the JD(U) ended up with a much smaller tally, conceding the upper hand to the BJP, which now has the lion’s share in the council of ministers in Bihar two of them being deputy CMs.
Asked about the praise showered on Nitish Kumar by Pashupati Kumar Paras, who represents the Hajipur seat from where Ram Vilas Paswan was elected for most of his career, Singh said “he was a minister in the state cabinet until he got elected to Parliament. We shared extremely cordial relations”.
The JD(U) chief also remarked that Chirag Paswan was “too young” and had failed to keep his flock together in the LJP, which owed its current standing, in a large measure, to “efforts put in by Pashupati Kumar Paras and Ram Chandra Paswan (Prince Raja’s late father)”.
Mr Singh, however, parried queries as to whether the rebel LJP MPs would be welcome if they expressed the wish to join JD(U).
“Many formalities are to be completed. The five MPs who have revolted need to be notified as an independent group by the Lok Sabha Speaker. They have already stated they will remain in the NDA.
“In any case, in Bihar NDA, it is only the BJP and our party. Whichever party they join, they will be with us,” he said.
He declined to comment on speculations about one or more rebel LJP MPs being inducted into the Union cabinet from JD(U) quota or getting accommodated in the state ministry, but reiterated his stand that all NDA allies ought to get a “respectable” share at the Centre.
The developments in the LJP come barely three months after its lone MLA Raj Kumar Singh crossed over to the JD(U) upon being pulled up for voting in favour of Maheshwar Hazari, the NDA candidate for deputy speaker’s post.
Mr Singh had quit the LJP protesting the reproach from the leadership and asserting that he had supported the NDA candidate in line with the party”s earlier stance of backing Vijay Kumar Sinha, the alliance”s nominee, as Speaker. Notably, while Sinha belongs to the BJP, Hazari is from the JD(U).