| Former state Congress chief Mehboob Ali Qaiser and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan at the party workers’ meet in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, March 12: LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday told party workers the circumstances in which the party broke up with the Congress and the RJD to join hands with the BJP.
This was Paswan’s first address to party workers ever since the Lok Janshatki Party went back to the NDA, 12 years after it parted ways with it.
In a packed SK Memorial Hall, Paswan encouraged workers to ensure victory in not just the seven seats the LJP is contesting, but all 40 seats the alliance is contesting.
In attendance were the Congress’s Mehboob Ali Qaiser, LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan and LJP nominee from Vaishali Rama Singh and others.
Speakers attacked the Congress and the RJD leadership for ignoring the LJP as an ally.
Paswan said the LJP was keen to ally with the RJD and the Congress, but neither the Congress leadership nor Lalu Yadav came forward. “Worse, RJD leaders were not giving respectable seats to the party. The RJD offered just two-three seats and asked us to declare our candidates. Also, there was confusion in the party whether we would win any seats as the Congress has weakened and even the RJD has lost base,” said Paswan.
The LJP chief said whichever group the LJP has allied with has gone on to form the government and this time too the NDA would reign. The leaders also attacked the JD (U) leadership and chief minister Nitish Kumar on his secular credentials. Paswan said: “I was the first person to leave the NDA after the Godhra riots. Those who are talking about secularism now have enjoyed power for 10 years. This is the era of development and the primary focus should be on providing jobs to youths. Whenever elections are near, these so-called secular parties come forward to chant secularism.” His son Chirag Paswan, the architect of the BJP-LJP alliance, claimed the party decided to ally with the BJP as it was in the interest of the nation and party and the decision was taken after consulting top leaders.
Muslim leaders of the party hailed the decision to ally with the BJP. LJP national general secretary Salauddin Khan said: “The post-Godhra riots were sad but it has been a decade now and there have been more communal riots in Congress-ruled states than BJP-ruled ones and with the LJP joining the NDA, other parties will follow.”
Sources said the NDA constituents would campaign for each other. The BJP’s poll mascot, Narendra Modi, is to address a rally in Hajipur to seek votes for Ram Vilas Paswan.