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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Low voting in Bihar because NDA faces no challenge here: Chirag Paswan

Paswan, whose party is fighting five out of the state’s 40 seats, as part of the coalition led by the BJP, claimed that the INDIA bloc's performance will be "worse" than in 2019

PTI Patna Published 20.04.24, 06:28 PM
Chirag Paswan

Chirag Paswan File photo

Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan on Saturday attributed a relatively low voter turnout in Bihar in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls to "no challenge faced by the NDA" in the state.

Paswan, whose party is fighting five out of the state’s 40 seats, as part of the coalition led by the BJP, claimed that the INDIA bloc's performance will be "worse" than in 2019, when it could win only one seat in Bihar.

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"The voter turnout in Bihar is low because the opposition here is in a state of atrophy. Although the NDA is going to do well everywhere, at least it has some competition in, say, West Bengal, which is a reason why voters there turned up in large numbers yesterday,” he told reporters.

The four seats in Bihar where voting took place included Jamui, represented by Paswan twice on the trot. However, he has now shifted base to his late father Ram Vilas Paswan's pocket borough Hajipur, and fielded Arun Bharti, his sister's husband from Jamui.

Bihar recorded a 48.23 per cent turnout in the four seats -- Jamui, Nawada, Gaya, and Aurangabad – that went to polls in the first phase on Friday.

Paswan also raked up the issue of a video that had recently gone viral in which people can be heard using abusive language at a rally purportedly addressed by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

"The incident smacks of the RJD's anti-Dalit mindset. I am shocked to hear that Tejashwi, whom I have always treated as a younger brother, has tried to wash his hands of the incident. I would have objected strongly if someone abused his family in my presence,” said Paswan, who is known to have excellent relations with Yadav and his father Lalu Prasad, the RJD president.

Chiding Yadav for "arrogance" over leading the single-largest party in Bihar, Paswan said the RJD leader ought to remind the role "we had played" in the assembly polls.

The allusion was to the drubbing of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U), in 2020, which has been blamed on the revolt of the LJP, then headed by Paswan.

He, however, downplayed the JD(U) chief's absence at most rallies held by allies, claiming "all NDA constituents in Bihar have been advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to run an extensive campaign, which can be possible only if different leaders attend different public meetings".

He also claimed that the NDA was increasingly getting popular among Muslims, despite the coalition being led by the BJP.

"People feel governments run by the RJD and its ally Congress have been a failure in the state as well as the Centre. Besides, these parties' failure to give adequate representation to Muslims, despite seeking their votes, stands exposed,” said Paswan.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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