The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 21 , 2014
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Parties eye stronger tomorrow
Dal, LJP close to strike poll deal

Patna, Jan. 20: The JD(U) and the LJP today headed closer to each other with chief minister Nitish Kumar virtually offering to strike an electoral tie-up with Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and the latter reciprocating.

“Paswanji is a good person. We offered to ally with him in 2004 and 2005 also but it did not materialise for certain circumstances at that time,” Nitish said on the sidelines of his weekly janata durbar, recalling fond memories of how he (Nitish) had spent time with the LJP boss on December 31, 2004, and January 1, 2005, at the latter’s New Delhi based residence.

While praising Paswan, Nitish categorically distanced his party from the Congress saying: “The reports in the media that there were some talks going on between the JD(U) and the Congress have no basis.” In a way, he ruled out his party’s possible alliance with the Congress.

Nitish added that it was for “Paswanji to decide what sort of alliance he was looking for with the JD(U). We have always regarded him (Paswan) as a good leader.”

While Nitish for the first time broke into praise for Paswan, the LJP chief who technically is still an ally with the RJD and has spit venom against the chief minister in the last five years, reciprocated Nitish’s gesture.

“Nitish is an old friend,” Paswan told The Telegraph in a text message.

The LJP chief, however, clarified: “I will wait for the Congress’s decision on the alliance issue in Bihar till January 31. If the Congress fails to take a decision, the LJP will decide on its own who will be its ally for the 2014 elections.”

Paswan, for the first time, has departed from his broader stand in the context of an alliance in the state. His party contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, 2010 Assembly polls and the latest by-election on Maharajganj seat last year in alliance with the RJD.

The overwhelming number of the state Congress’s election committee members this evening pitched for the party’s alliance with the RJD. “If the alliance with the RJD does not materialise the party should go it alone in the state,” the election committee resolved.