Deciding to embark on a mass contact programme in preparation for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the former Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president, Ram Vilas Paswan, on Wednesday appealed to the Congress to join forces to take on the National Democratic Alliance combine in Bihar.

Outlining his future course of action at his party’s foundation day function, Mr. Paswan said his alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was intact but added that he would like the Congress to join hands to strengthen secular forces. He also appealed to all secular forces to come together for a better show in Bihar.

The RJD and the LJP fought the 2009 elections together, while the Congress fought separately.

Claiming that he had built his party right up to the block level, Mr. Paswan said he was ready for the elections. To keep the workers fighting fit, he would be undertaking a “Bihar Bachao Yatra” from January 6 and cover all the districts over a four-month period and focus on the “misdeeds” of the Nitish Kumar government in the State.

Charging that corruption was rampant in Bihar, the LJP chief said a number of scams had rocked the State right from the CAG’s disclosure of irregularities to the tune of Rs. 82,000 crore of public funds to a liquor racket that cost a Minister his job.

The government was running on kickbacks and bribes, he charged, attributing the collapse of a makeshift bridge on the Ganga that led to a tragedy during the Chhat festival to the prevailing corrupt practices that also saw 2 lakh women falling victim to a racket that forced them to have their uteri removed.

Negating the State government’s claims of development, Mr. Paswan wondered why not even a needle manufacturing unit could be put up so far. He also charged that the crime scene was much worse now with murders and rapes topping the charts.

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