LJP chief Paswan meets Sonia Gandhi
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) President Ram Vilas Paswan met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday – giving rise to speculations that he is exploring other political alternatives after the conviction of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad’s conviction in the fodder scam case.
The LJP and RJD – alliance partners in Bihar – are keen on a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the 2014 general elections. On this option, the Congress has not opened its cards, while reports indicate that the party has been considering the possibility of firming up an electoral alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
Accompanied by son Chirag, the LJP chief ostensibly met the UPA Chairperson to request her to do “anything and everything possible” to bring justice in the 1997 case of the massacre of 58 ‘Dalits’ by the upper caste Ranvir Sena at Laxmanpur Bathe in Bihar’s Jehanabad district.
The Bihar government has decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the October 10 verdict of the Patna high court acquitting all the 26 accused.
Keen not to repeat the “mistake” he made in the run-up to the 2009 general elections, Paswan asked Gandhi to take the initiative to bring together the “secular parties” during their 40 minute long meeting.
Ahead of the 2009 elections, Prasad and Paswan had jointly announced plans to contest 37 of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar, leaving just three seats for the Congress.
“Both RJD and LJP will have to spare more Lok Sabha seats for the Congress this time. The emerging political configurations in the state are likely to become clearer in about a fortnight”, Paswan told HT.