Ram Vilas Paswan’s daughter threatens to sit on dharna over his veiled remarks about Rabri Devi
Although Paswan had not named anyone while making the controversial comments, his use of the word “anguthachhap” (illiterate) was widely seen as a veiled reference to former Bihar CM Rabri Devi.
PATNA: Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan’s comments about women with little education becoming chief ministers have prompted his estranged daughter Asha Devi to demand an apology from him for insulting women in general.
“My father should not have spoken like this. He should tender an apology for speaking in this manner about Rabri Devi. His words have insulted all women,” said Asha Devi on Saturday. “If he does not apologise, I will sit on a dharna in front of the LJP office,” added Devi, who is Paswan’s daughter from his first wife Raj Kumari Devi and is married to RJD leader Anil Kumar Sadhu.
Although Paswan had not named anyone while making the controversial comments, his use of the word “anguthachhap” (illiterate) was widely seen as a veiled reference to former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, who is currently an MLC and RJD national vice-president. She served as Bihar CM for eight years despite having little formal education. She was dramatically anointed to the post in July 1997 when her husband Lalu Prasad Yadav, then the serving CM, was jailed in a fodder scam case.
While attacking RJD, Bihar’s main Opposition party, for opposing the 10 per cent quota for the poor among the upper castes, Paswan had said on Friday: “These people (RJD) only raise slogans and become leaders. Even angutha-chhap (illiterate) people become chief ministers”.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who is Lalu-Rabri’s younger son and a former deputy chief minister, was hurt by Paswan’s words, but he refrained from hitting back. “He is my guardian and aged. I respect him and will keep respecting him. The people will decide on what he has said,” said Tejashwi, 30, who himself quit his studies while in Class IX to chase a career in cricket before entering politics in 2015.
Dalit leader and former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi criticised Paswan’s comments. “There have been many people who have been little educated but contributed to politics significantly. How educated was Kamraj? Being educated and becoming a fine politician are two different things,” said Manjhi who heads HAM, an ally of RJD.
Asha Devi had said last year that she would contest the Lok Sabha polls against her father if RJD gives her a ticket. Paswan has, however, decided not to contest the LS polls this time.