New Delhi: Out of the NDA in Bihar, LJP president Chirag Paswan asserted on Tuesday that he enjoys “very cordial" relations with the BJP and noted that he has firmly stood by the prime minister since 2014 when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had left the alliance to protest against Narendra Modi’s leadership. In an interview with PTI, Paswan also asserted that he has been working on his “Bihar first, Bihari first" agenda for a long time and had informed the BJP leadership about his differences with the Kumar-led government well in advance.
He, however, refused to comment on claims about his tacit understanding with the BJP in targeting the JD(U), saying it is for the saffron party to answer. Asked how he sees the Lok Janshakti Party’s and his relations with the BJP after quitting the National Democratic Alliance in the state, Paswan said, “I have very cordial relations with the BJP. I have said that we have no bitterness with the BJP." The LJP president also profusely thanked Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for “taking care" of him at a time when his father and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan is in hospital for weeks.
There has not been a single day when Modi has missed calling him to take feedback about his father’s health, Paswan said and also praised BJP president J P Nadda and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for their concerns. Ram Vilas Paswan has undergone a heart operation at a private hospital in the national capital.
The LJP president said his party will continue to be part of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre. Underscoring his support to Modi’s leadership, Paswan said his party backed him in 2014 during the Lok Sabha polls when he was the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate while Kumar had quit the alliance in opposition to his candidature for the top job.
“I have been consistent in my support, belief and admiration for the prime minister since I fought my first election in 2014. It is Nitish Kumar who has been fluctuating in his stand. He joined hands with Lalu Prasad and then joined the NDA in 2017. He keeps thinking as to how he can continue to be chief minister rather than working for the state’s development," he said. Asked about his father’s absence from political activities and campaign, he said he misses his guidance as the Union minister is not in a state at the moment where he can communicate.
Ram Vilas Paswan, who has been in active politics for more than five decades and is known for his grassroots understanding, would have taken the decision to part ways with Kumar and fight independently in Bihar earlier than he did, Chirag Paswan said. “He would not have waited this long," he said adding that his father always had this regret of not giving LJP workers as much chance to fight elections as he would have liked as the party mostly contested as part of an alliance.
“I am happy that I am now fulfilling his dreams," he said.