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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Will Paswan dump Lalu Prasad for Congress?

Srinand Jha , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 24, 2013
First Published: 23:38 IST(24/10/2013) | Last Updated: 14:11 IST(28/10/2013)

Will Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan dump Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to firm up an alliance with the Congress and the Janata Dal (United)?

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Amidst talk of changing political equations in Bihar after Prasad’s incarceration in the Rs. 940 crore fodder scam case, the theory has been gaining ground.

“The LJP is like salt in lentil. Any secular formation in the state will remain incomplete without us. The JD (U) has also been sending us feelers each day. Political equations will shape up and concretise after the coming assembly elections in five states”, the LJP president told HT.

With JD(U) leader and state chief minister Nitish Kumar’s “mahadalit” (extremely backward) campaign having dealt a mighty blow to Paswan’s backward politics in past years, the LJP leader will find it extremely difficult to join forces with him.

“But these are unusual times and the unlikeliest of theories might come true," an LJP leader said.

Paswan, however, maintained that the RJD-LJP alliance remains ‘intact’.

He also met RJD leader Rabri Devi on Tuesday to appraise her about his talks with Congress president Sonia Gandhi to work out an RJD-LJP-Congress axis.

Significantly, Paswan met Rahul Gandhi twice in recent days, following an earlier meeting with Sonia Gandhi. “I did not discuss Bihar politics with Rahul ji, but told the Congress president that if the RJD-LJP-Congress alliance is put in place, this combine will sweep the elections. I have the utmost respect for Sonia ji,” he said.

“It was unfortunate that the RJD-LJP left just three seats for the Congress in the 2009 elections. This cost us heavily, as the ‘secular votes ‘got divided and the RJD-LJP candidates fared badly as a result of this,” Paswan added.

RJD leaders have also been sending indiscreet feelers to the Congress for a pre-poll alliance, but Rahul Gandhi is said to be reluctant to the idea.

The RJD has shown signs of political revival in recent months, but there are also reports about a ‘succession war’ in the party, while there are also apprehensions whether “looking after” party president Rabri Devi will be able to keep the flock together.


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