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Bihar Polls: Could Ram Vilas Paswan Get Rajya Sabha Seat Without JDU's Help, Asks Nitish Kumar

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar addresses a press conference in Patna on Tuesday. (PTI)

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar addresses a press conference in Patna on Tuesday. (PTI)

Responding to questions about the political war announced against him by LJP president Chirag Paswan, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recalled the assistance extended by his party to the LJP during and right after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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Suhas Munshi

Responding to questions about the all-out political war announced against him by Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recalled the assistance extended by his party to the LJP during and right after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

"Could Ram Vilas Paswan get his Rajya Sabha seat without the assistance of JD(U)? Could they have managed a Rajya Sabha seat on the basis of their two MLAs? It was only because of the assistance of BJP and JD(U) [that Ram Vilas Paswan could get an RS seat]," Kumar said during a press conference in Patna on Tuesday.

He went on to talk about how senior BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, and Kumar himself, campaigned for the LJP that won all six seats allotted under the seat-sharing arrangement for last year's Lok Sabha polls.

The joint press conference held by senior BJP and JD(U) leaders was held to announce NDA's seat-sharing arrangement, according to which JD(U) will get 122 seats, seven of which it has allotted to Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM, and the rest 121 are being contested by the BJP, which is finalising its seat-sharing deal with Mukesh Sahani's VIP. But the press conference was dominated by questions about Chirag Paswan.

Responding to one such question, on rumours that if the BJP is able to get a good strike rate on its seats it could tie up with LJP in a post-poll scenario, Modi said, "If Ram Vilas Paswan, who is our minister in the Union Cabinet, was in good health, there would have been no confusion."

"Let's be clear on this, in Bihar only those who accept Nitishji as their leader and chief minister can be part of NDA," he added. "Only BJP, JD(U), VIP and HAM are part of the NDA in Bihar and are authorised to use the Prime Minister's photo on their campaign material. If need be, we will write to the Election Commission to ensure that apart from the four parties. no one else can use the PM's photo."

On a question of rumours about BJP's post-poll tie up with LJP, Modi said, "There is no if and but about it. It doesn't matter who gets however many seats, pre-poll or post-poll, our minds are clear, Nitish Kumar was the chief minister and will continue to be our chief minister."

Kumar recalled work done by his government, lashing out at his political opponents. "Everyone knows what the situation of jobs, law and order, development was before we came to power. There was no road in the state, professors didn't get their salaries on time. We have done so much during the coronavirus pandemic. Testing average in Bihar is much higher than the national average, as is the recovery rate," he said.

Saying that the NDA is strong and capable enough to take on the opposition on issues of development, Modi said, "I challenge the opposition to make issues like electricity, water, roads, our management during coronavirus and floods, our handling of the migrant worker issue, the central issues on which they fight the polls."

BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said the NDA us poised to return to power with a three-fourths majority.


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