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Opt for Change: Chirag Paswan Sends Clear Message to BJP on Bihar Poll Face Ahead of Amit Shah Rally

File photo of LJP chief Chirag Paswan with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

File photo of LJP chief Chirag Paswan with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (PTI)

LJP chief Chirag Paswan said the migrant worker situation could have been handled much better. This is the third time he has expressed unease over the handling of the crisis in the last month.

Expressing his unease with the handling of migrant workers' crisis, yet again, shortly before Bihar is scheduled to go to polls, LJP chief Chirag Paswan on Friday in an interview said the situation could have been handled much better.

"If Bihar government had begun transporting migrants earlier, then we could have the example of the likes of Jyoti Kumar...deaths of many labourers on their way to home could have been probably avoided," he said in the interview.

Paswan, whose LJP is an ally of the ruling NDA coalition, also said that he will back BJP if it opts for a change of face in the Bihar assembly polls.

"Who will be the face, who will be the leader of the alliance is something that its largest constituent BJP has to decide. The LJP is strongly with the BJP in whatever decision it takes. If they (BJP) want to go ahead with Nitish Kumar ji, we are with them, if they want to have a change of mind... whatever decision the BJP takes, we will support," Paswan told news agency PTI.

BJP had already clarified, as far back as in October last year, that Bihar assembly elections would be fought under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. The then BJP president Amit Shah had, in an interview to News18, said, "The Janata Dal (United) and the BJP will go to polls together and we will fight polls under the leadership of Nitish ji. This is absolutely clear."

Chirag Paswan's statements come at an interesting time when every indication is that the polls will not be delayed due to social restrictions mandated by the pandemic. BJP is kick-starting its campaign with several virtual rallies planned for the people of Bihar. Amit Shah is expected to address a virtual rally on June 7th.

Paswan's statement on the poor handling of migrant workers' crisis is at least the third since May. Just when it seems that the migrant workers' crisis is likely to become the biggest poll issue in Bihar, Paswan has constantly been expressing his dissatisfaction with the way the government headed by Nitish Kumar has handled the situation.

Speaking to a news channel last month, the Jamui MP had said, "I speak as a responsible ally (of the ruling NDA in Bihar) I can see a lot of anger among migrant workers when I watch their ordeal in videos posted on social media. I fear that they might lose confidence in our government."

This happened a day after he wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Bihar claiming that the helpline numbers for the migrant workers were not functional and questioning the quarantine facilities provided to the migrant workers.

Paswan, however, asserted that the NDA will come back to power in Bihar with a huge mandate, and said the RJD-led opposition was not in a position to challenge it. He claimed that NDA was in a position to win more than 225 of the 242 seats in the state assembly.