Amid signs of chill in LJP leader Chirag Paswan’s ties with the BJP-led NDA, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday reached out to him for aligning with the Opposition, saying he can carry forward his father Ram Vilas Paswan’s legacy only by joining the “existential fight" against RSS ideologue M S Golwalkar’s thoughts. With Chirag going public with his disappointment with the BJP’s silence over his bitter feud with his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras for control of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Tejashwi Yadav alleged that the BJP has “disposed of" and “abandoned" most of its old allies after coming to power and gaining maximum from them.
In an interview with PTI, Yadav said his party has always stood by Ram Vilas Paswan and recounted that when the LJP did not even have a single MLA and Paswan lost the election in 2009, it was Lalu Prasad Yadav who sent him to Rajya Sabha from the Rashtriya Janata Dal quota. Has anybody done or sacrificed so much for any other leader or party in the country, he asked. “Our party has decided to celebrate Dalit messiah, Ram Vilas Ji’s birth anniversary to commemorate his contribution to the state, I think this itself is self-explanatory," Yadav said.
Significantly, Chirag has also announced an “aashirvaad yatra" from July 5, the birth anniversary of his father and party founder Ram Vilas Paswan, from Hajipur in Bihar. Asked about his call last week urging Chirag to quit the NDA, Yadav said the country is at a juncture where pro-Constitution, pro-democracy, pro-farmers and pro-people forces are on one side and those antithetical to this ideology are on the other side. “Late Ram Vilas Paswan Ji was a socialist and a firm believer in the idea of social justice throughout his life. He fought caste supremacy, poverty and inequality during his political journey," the 31-year-old leader said.
“The real tribute to him would be carrying forward his values and legacy and that is possible only when Chirag ji joins this existential fight against Golwalkar’s ‘bunch of thoughts’," the former Bihar deputy chief minister said, in a play on the title of one of RSS ideologue Golwalkar’s books. On Chirag’s remarks in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it was not right for ‘Ram’ to remain silent when ‘Hanuman’ is being killed, Yadav alleged that the BJP “lures" parties and leaders by promising them “the moon but the moment their system’ realises they are no longer of utility, they are dumped in a similar manner as a fly is thrown out of milk".
Asked about the political tussle between the LJP factions of Chirag and his paternal uncle Paras, the RJD leader threw his weight behind Chirag and took a dig at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying those who have engineered this split were vengeful against Chirag Paswan as he fought against them in last assembly elections. “Late Ram Vilas Ji made Chirag Ji his heir apparent by appointing him as the party’s national president and the parliamentary leader in Lok Sabha and it is up to him now as to how he carries forward his father’s legacy," Yadav said. Those who are questioning him now, why they didn’t do so when he was made national president of LJP, he said in an apparent reference to Paras.
On Chirag holding the JD(U) responsible for the turmoil in the LJP, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly said Chirag has made it quite clear through his letters that this was staged and the “perpetrators are known to everyone now". “Those who worked to split the party (LJP) way back in 2005 and 2010 have in a sinister manner planned this as well. Nitish ji has a track record of living on borrowed mandate and has always played his game with support of borrowed players," Yadav said in a scathing attack on the chief minister. Nitish Kumar has “spared none and betrayed everyone", he alleged. Last week also, Yadav had reached out to Chirag, saying the LJP leader must reconsider his continuance in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
A tussle has been on within the LJP after Chirag’s uncle Paras was elected as the party’s leader in Lok Sabha by the five of party’s six MPs in place of Chirag. Both the factions have now moved to control the party and project their group as the real LJP, founded by Chirag’s father Ram Vilas Paswan.
While the wing led by Chirag Paswan has expelled the five MPs from the party, the rival group has removed him as its president. A meeting of the LJP national executive last Sunday endorsed Chirag’s leadership and hit out at the faction headed by his paternal uncle for working against the party’s constitution.