In a major pre-poll jolt to the Congress in Bihar, AICC member and former state Congress chief Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaisar on Wednesday joined the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
And both Paswan as well as his son Chirag were present at the LJP headquarters here to welcome in the three-time MLA from Simri Bakhtiayarpur, who was almost immediately named the LJP candidate from Khagaria Parliamentary seat. “The NDA is moving ahead to capture power at the Centre,” Chaudhary said. Having joined the ranks of the LJP, which had returned to the BJP-led NDA after a sizable gap, Chaudhary openly defended the Opposition PM candidate Narendra Modi.
“Though he cannot be condoned for the Gujarat riots, today development is the key word. Now, we should look ahead,” he said. Besides, Chaudhary cited the Supreme Court’s clean chit to Modi in the Gujarat riots case while rallying to his defence.
However, it was the take on secularism and communalism, which was dubbed as nothing more than an election gimmick by Paswan and Chaudhary, that turned out to be the real eye-opener.
Actually, Chaudhary’s decision to quit the Congress followed the grand old party’s move to concede the Kagaria seat to the RJD on the basis of the seat-sharing agreement reached between the two. Moreover, the LJP was on the lookout for a Muslim candidate in Kagaria. Earlier, following his decision to ally with the BJP, Paswan had faced a credibility crisis since the LJP’s only MLA in Bihar had quit the party citing protests from Muslims in his constituency over the alliance. Coupled with this, the LJP chief’s image as a no-nonsense secularist, who was an ardent advocate of a Muslim Chief Minister for Bihar, had been badly dented owing to his association with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Meanwhile, the RJD has fielded Krishna Yadav, wife of gangster Ranbir Yadav, from Kagaria.