PATNA: Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan on Saturday hardened his stance against the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar but stopped short of announcing the much-speculated withdrawal of support to the ruling dispensation in the state.
Paswan, who was addressing workers at the state party headquarters here after unfurling the tricolor on Independence Day, however, hinted that some action on the withdrawal of support was likely in the near future as he was planning to convene a meeting of the LJP parliamentary board.
Party sources said that Chirag in his rousing speech debunked speculations of his breaking ranks with the BJP-led NDA stressing that LJP's loyalty to Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "deeper" than that of JD(U) helmed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Jamui MP, who is on his first tour of Bihar in several months, arrived here on Friday evening and is expected to stay for the next two-three days, party sources said here.
Paswan, who took over last year as the national president of the party founded by his father and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, underscored that LJP has been consistent and steadfast in its support to the NDA government at the Centre on various issues unlike the JD(U) which had been equivocal on matters like abrogation of Article 370 and more recently, the CAA-NPR-NRC debate.
Defending his attacks on the Bihar government on issues ranging from corruption, law and order, economic development and handling of the COVID 19 pandemic, the LJP chief pointed out that Kumars bid to seek re-election for a fourth consecutive term on the basis of a 15 years versus 15 years narrative was deeply flawed.
He pointed out that Kumar was trying to equate Lalu Prasads RJD with lawlessness and bad governance not taking account of the fact that he was sharing power with the latter till not more than three years ago.
He also asserted that unlike LJP, which joined the NDA in 2014 expressing full faith in the leadership of Narendra Modi, Kumar had thrown a fit when his then Gujarat counterpart emerged as a potential prime ministerial candidate, snapped years old ties with BJP and gravitated towards the opposition camp.
Paswan iterated that it was beyond doubt that Bihar lagged behind most states on development parameters notwithstanding Kumars claim that the state has turned the corner in 15 years of his rule.
He asked the LJP rank and file to continue going to the people with the truth, no matter how harsh it may be and claimed that economic advancement witnessed in the state in the last few years was due to the Centres bounty.
The LJP chiefs run-in with the government in the state began in March this year when he embarked on a 'Bihar First Bihari First' campaign which was viewed with suspicion by the JD(U).
Relationship between the two parties had taken a nosedive in the subsequent months with the LJP chief taking potshots at the JD(U) government over its handling of COVID-19, the migrants crisis that followed the lockdown and the insistence on holding assembly elections, scheduled in October-November, on time despite the raging pandemic.
Paswan has repeatedly stated that his party was supporting but not a part of the government in the state an allusion to the LJP having no representation in the states council of ministers after his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras got elected to the Lok Sabha.
Kumars reported reluctance to part with a number of seats for the LJP that was commensurate with its performance in the Lok Sabha polls last year is also said to have riled Paswan.
LJP had contested six seats in the state in the Lok Sabha polls and had won all.
The JD(U) had fought 17 and had won all but one.
In the 243-strong assembly, the LJP has only two MLAs.
An announcement of withdrawal of support by LJP will not reduce the government in Bihar to a minority though it could be a poor reflection on the NDA in the state which stood rock solid in the general elections a year ago, decimated the opposition and appears invincible in the face of a divided opposition.
Intriguingly, the BJP has been maintaining a telling silence over the squabble among its two alliance partners in the state.