“A Third Front government without the Congress’ support is impossible”, Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) President Ram Vilas Paswan said in an interview to HT on Tuesday.
<b1>Expressing his willingness to take up the job of Prime Minister if offered a reasonable chance, he said that leaders of any of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) party leaders could take a shot for the top slot in the event of the Congress party returning to the Lok Sabha with reduced numbers.
“If the Congress strength in the next Lok Sabha exceeds 130-135, Manmohan Singh will become PM in all probability. If that party’s strength is reduced to a number less than 120, a leader of the any of the UPA allies can stake his claim for the top job”, Paswan said.
He has been part of several coalition governments since the VP Singh government of 1989, but Paswan ruled out the possibility of returning to the NDA in the event of the BJP making a comeback as single largest party. “The biggest blunder of my life was to have joined the NDA government and this is certain that I will never repeat the mistake.”
Stating that expectations of a Dalit Prime Minister being elected had increased after Barack Obama’s victory, Paswan dismissed possibilities of the elevation of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati to the post.
“A candidate for the top job has to be acceptable to all alliance partners and also has to have the requisite experience and qualifications… Those pumping up Mayawati today will themselves withdraw support and prevent the possibility of her emergence ...”, Paswan said, adding: “A person with a tainted record can never become PM”.
Meanwhile, initiatives aimed at putting up a “secular formation” against the BJP-JD (U) combine in Bihar are proceeding on course. The RJD has expressed its willingness to leave 12 seats for the LJP, which has been demanding 15 of the 40 seats, Paswan said.
A meeting between RJD and LJP leaders is scheduled for March 12.