Former civil aviation minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, who initiated talks with Ramvilas Paswan, feels the alliance with LJP will be a game-changer in Bihar. BJP’s lone Muslim MP in the Lok Sabha, Hussain called Bihar CM Nitish Kumar a ‘fake secularist’ who did not give Muslims their due. Excerpts from an interview:
How will the alliance with Ramvilas Paswan help the BJP?
It will be a gamechanger in the next election. Paswan fills the void created by Nitish Kumar. The LJP has between 50,000 and 1.5 lakh transferable votes in every Lok Sabha constituency. Paswan will provide cutting edge to us. He brings to NDA more than what Nitish Kumar has taken away. .
Are upper caste leaders in Bihar are unhappy about the alliance?
No. People got this impression after some leaders could not make it to Narendra Modi’s rally in Muzaffarpur. CP Thakur (Rajya Sabha member) and Giriraj Singh (former minister) had genuine reasons to abstain. The alliance has the approval of top leaders of the party. Any opposition to this would not be appreciated.
Will the JD(U)’s gamble to snap ties with BJP on the Modi issue help Nitish Kumar in Lok Sabha polls?
Nitish Kumar is a fake secularist. He allied with the BJP after kar seva in Ayodhya and did not go even after the 2002 riots. He removed two Muslims ministers in Bihar while one had to resign after getting unfair treatment. Muslims in Bihar ask why he voted for Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential election against the NDA’s line, but did not support Hamid Ansari for vice president’s post. People know all this.
Who are prospective post-poll allies of NDA?
The era of fractured mandate is over and people are giving a decisive majority. Results of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other assembly elections have shown this trend. We are confident about getting a comfortable majority. We won’t need these people to form government.
BJP chief Rajnath Singh recently offered to apologise to Muslims.
Our rivals have painted us anti-Muslim. Rajnath Singh said the party was ready to apologise for any mistake. It will do. When no mistake has been committed so far, where is the question of apologising? Our president has been saying from Day One that BJP’s politics is about not about forming government but to ensure Insaaf (justice) and Insaniyat (humanity).