PATNA: Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh sent ripples through Bihar politics on Sunday by claiming that LJP chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan was in touch with RJD leaders and that he would join the RJD-led Opposition alliance before the Lok Sabha polls. Paswan, however, dubbed the claims as rubbish.
“Paswanjee is very much in touch with us (RJD leaders) because he is feeling suffocated in NDA. After all, he used to be our ally. He will switch over to our side in time… long before the Lok Sabha polls,” said Singh, RJD national vice-president and former Union minister, to reporters.
Singh’s statements, coming a day after Paswan and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP were shown black flags by members of the Scheduled Caste communities at a public function at Mokama, set political circles in Bihar aflutter.
“Although he (Paswan) is a minister now, he is feeling distressed due to BJP’s politics. He finds little charm in continuing as a minister,” said Singh. “When I had earlier claimed that Jitan Ram Manjhi would qquit NDA to join our alliance, there were denials and ridicule, but I stood vindicated,” added the leader considered close to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Manjhi, a Dalit leader and former chief minister of Bihar, quit NDA and made his party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) a part of the RJD-led Opposition alliance on February 28.
Paswan, however, vociferously rubbished Singh’s claims about the possibility of his quitting NDA to join the RJD-led alliance and asserted that his party LJP is with NDA and would remain in it. He termed Singh’s claims as his “personal views”.
“These are empty, baseless claims by a leader who hardly has any value in his party. Who would want to join an alliance led by a sinking RJD? That party and their alliance have absolutely no future. LJP is with NDA and will continue with it,” said Paswan.
When reminded about Manjhi’s defection to UPA, the Union minister said: “I am not Manjhi. There is a difference”. Interestingly, when speculations were high about Manjhi quitting NDA to join UPA, he had similarly rejected all claims and insisted that he would continue with NDA.