PATNA: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's estranged daughter Asha on Sunday staged a sit-in here along with RJD women activists to protest her father's 'angootha chhap' jibe allegedly targeted at party leader Rabri Devi.
Paswan had at a press conference on Friday attacked the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for opposing the NDA-led government's bill to provide 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward in general category.
"They (RJD) believe in merely raising slogans and making 'angootha chhap' (illiterate person) the chief minister," he had said, without naming anybody.
Asha, who is Paswan's daughter from his first marriage, had on Saturday demanded an apology from him.
His remarks were seen as a reference to the events of 1997 when RJD chief Lalu Prasad had to step down as Bihar chief minister as he faced arrest in the fodder scam cases and his wife, Rabri Devi, who has little formal education, was appointed as his successor.
Married to Arun Sadhu, who is the state president of the RJDs SC/ST cell, Asha refrained from storming the headquarters of Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) here, which she had threatened to do on Saturday.
Instead, she staged the sit-in at Gardanibagh, barely a kilometer away from the LJP headquarters.
She was joined by women RJD activists, who carried placards and raised slogans demanding that the Union minister "apologise" and "take his words back".
Talking to reporters at a different location, Sadhu reiterated that his wife would like to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Hajipur seat, which is considered Paswan's pocket borough, "if the RJD gives her a ticket".
Paswan has declared that he will not be contesting from the seat in the upcoming general elections and would take the Rajya Sabha route to enter Parliament.
Speculations are rife that one of Paswan's close family members may be given the ticket in his place.
"Ram Vilas Paswan has talked a lot about 'neeti' (policy) and 'neeyat' (intention) and has failed on both counts. Having learnt the ropes under the tutelage of socialists like Lohia, JP and Karpoori Thakur, he ended up sitting in the lap of the BJP-RSS combine," Sadhu said.
"My fight with him is, however, not personal, but political," he said.
"I treat him with the same respect which I have for my father. If I meet him on any social occasion, I will greet him by touching his feet," he added.
The RJD leader alleged that Paswan and his son, Chirag Paswan, sought votes in the name of Dalits but turned their backs on the depressed classes when it came to fighting for their rights.
Chirag, who is an MP from Jamui and heads the LJP's parliamentary board, is Paswan's son from his second marriage.
Asked if Asha would still contest from Hajipur if the NDA fields Chirag from the seat, Sadhu replied in the affirmative.
"Relationship does not matter in political battlefield," he said.
When reporters approached Chirag at the airport here, he said, "This is not a political matter but a dispute concerning my family and I have never been comfortable talking about personal matters in public."