| Chief minister Nitish Kumar addresses the media in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Patna, Dec 25: The RJD today embarked on firefighting to ease the strains on its alliance with the LJP.
The party’s legislature party leader, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, called on the LJP chief, Ram Vilas Paswan, at the latter’s New Delhi residence. Though it was not known what transpired between the two leaders, the RJD secretary-general and MP, Ram Kripal Yadav, said: “The RJD-LJP alliance was very much intact. The alliance was there earlier, it exists today and it will get strengthened to beat the BJP-led communal forces in the days to follow.”
Ram Kripal, also known for his closeness to Lalu Prasad, disassociated the RJD from the statement of the senior party MP, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. “The ally (read LJP) should bring to the fore its winnable candidates against the seats it wished to contest,” Raghuvansh had stated, drawing angry response from the LJP.
Without taking names, Ram Kripal said: “The RJD’s national executive has unanimously authorised Lalu Prasad to take decisions on the alliance. No leader other than the party boss is entitled to take a call. And neither Laluji, nor Ram Vilasji has spoken anything on the alliance.”
While the RJD entered in the firefighting mode with the LJP and continued with its efforts to bring the Congress on board in Bihar, the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, distanced himself from the Congress and attacked both the Congress-led UPA and the RJD.
“The UPA has put the demand for the special category status to Bihar on backburners in the absence of clear thoughts. The UPA has relegated the special status issue to the background after sensing the mood of its allies on the issue,” Nitish said on his return from New Delhi today.
He iterated that he and his party would keep on fighting for the special category status to the state that has overwhelming support from the people in Bihar and backing of the Raghuram Rajan Committee report.
“The Raghuram Rajan committee determined the new criteria for backwardness, creating many possibilities for the least developed states. But the Centre is sitting over it for political reasons,” he said.
Asked about the reports of differences between the RJD and LJP, Nitish said: “I have neither knowledge, nor interest in what is happening between the LJP and the RJD.”
Nitish associated Lalu with the Congress-led UPA without naming him and attacked the latter. “He (Lalu) is in alliance with the UPA. That is why he has been allotted a front seat in the Lok Sabha despite having few MPs,” Nitish said, taking a jibe at Lalu, “He (read Lalu) was convicted and bailed out by the judicial process. But he is presenting his bail like a political event,” he said.
Nitish predicted that Lalu would not be able to win back the people’s mandate “even if he manages to forge whatever alliance he wishes”.
The chief minister confirmed that he and his party leaders had talks with Jharkhand Vikas Morcha chief Babulal Marandi in New Delhi.