Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan made it quite clear that he was 'not a chief ministerial candidate' of the NDA for the upcoming assembly polls in Bihar.
"Neither me, nor anybody from my party is aspiring for the top job in Bihar," said Paswan, while participating in an interactive session at the Hindustan Bihar Samagam, 2015, which was organised to set the agenda for the September-October assembly polls in the state.
Paswan categorically said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is my leader. I would follow his diktat blindly in respect of NDA's CM candidate."
"Weh jahan kahenge, main us naam pe apna mohar laga doonga (I will put my stamp, wherever he asks me)," he said candidly, when asked whether he would be the NDA's choice for the top position in the state.
The LJP leader tried to parry the question, when asked whether he would support the candidature of senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for the CM's post. Avoiding the query, he quipped, "Don't try to create a division between us."
Making a sort of revelation, Paswan, who is the food minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet, said it was not for the first time that he did not wish to become a CM candidate. "Former prime minister VP Singh wanted me to take the responsibility of CM of Bihar. But, I politely refused him, saying, that I wanted to remain in national politics," he said adding," When, he asked me to give the name of some other candidate for the position, I had suggested late Ram Sundar Das."
Terming casteism as the bane of Bihar, the LJP leader said, "I may be known as a caste leader, but truly speaking I never played the politics of caste or community in my life, for I always consider that casteism has stalled the progress of the state."
"Caste system prevails everywhere in the country. But in other states like Karnataka or Haryana, developmental issues occupy centrestage and caste takes the back seat. In Bihar, caste occupies the front seat, pushing other issues to the back," he added.
Replying to a query regarding his preference for an alliance with any government in power to enjoy plum positions, Paswan said, "It is not true. Unlike Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, I am a Socialist and have never ditched any party. Rather, other parties have ditched me. I do the politics of self respect and expect the same from others."
Replying to another question, the LJP leader said Nitish Kumar must not be confident of Yadav votes after joining hands with Lalu Prasad.
"We also have prominent Yadav faces like Nand Kishore Yadav, Bhupender Yadav and Ram Kripal Yadav," he said, reminding that Ram Kripal Yadav had defeated Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti in the last Lok Sabha elections. "If Ram can do it, we will find another to do it again on Prasad".
He said the Lalu- Nitish duo had damaged Bihar in 25 years of their rule and exhorted the people to support the NDA, if they wanted to see the state back on the track.