Describes Ram Vilas Paswan as gentleman

With Congress and LJP keeping him on tenterhooks, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday sought to woo them flagging threat from “communal forces” as a reason why the three should come together to fight the Lok Sabha elections.

He praised Congress as an “umbrella” organisation of secular forces, which the country needs while saying that LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan is a “gentleman” but some people around him are not allowing him to take the right decision.

Mr. Prasad also attacked his bete noire Nitish Kumar, whom he accused of hobnobbing with BJP all along and was now claiming to be secular.

“My relationship with Ram Vilas Paswan has not soured at all. We talk with each other regularly. I have never said that we will not go for a tie-up with Ram Vilas Paswan’s party Paswan is a gentleman, good human being. But there are some people around him that do not allow him to take a decision on his own. There are some people, who have a different thinking.

“There is no feeling of disrespect towards him from my side. Our tie-up was with his party earlier also and will remain now as well. My target is communal forces. I am not focusing on what one or the other leader is saying. We will stop communal forces in Bihar like we had done in fast,” Mr. Prasad told PTI.

He further explained that when he uses the word we, “it is not only RJD. It is also taking together Congress and yes LJP too. All the three parties must come together to stop the communal and fascist forces.”

His response came two days after Mr. Paswan threw the ball in Congress court, saying it is for that party to decide whether the secular alliance in Bihar will include RJD or JD(U).

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday ruled out any talks with Congress for a tie-up in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections but showered encomiums at Mr. Paswan amid buzz that LJP and JD(U) are close to formalise an alliance in Bihar.

Slamming Kumar over his secular pitch, Mr. Prasad said, “Nitish Kumar is not a factor in Bihar... Lalu cannot go with Nitish, a man who associated for so long with a party which fanned communalism and riots... He (Kumar) remained with BJP for six years at Centre and nine years in state.

“After associating for so long with a party that fanned communalism, he is now trying to stave off the stigma by projecting his separation from NDA as some sort of Ganga Snan (bath in the holy Ganges)... Can Lalu go with Nitish Kumar? No it is impossible,” Mr. Prasad said.

LJP fought last Lok Sabha polls in Bihar in alliance with RJD while Congress contested alone. RJD managed to win four seats while LJP drew a blank. Even Mr. Paswan lost from his bastion Hajipur. Congress had bagged two seats in 2009.

Both RJD and LJP regretted their decision to keep Congress out and are wooing the national party this time.

While Mr. Paswan met Congress President Sonia Gandhi a few days back, Mr. Prasad met both the Congress President and Vice President Rahul Gandhi and regretted his decision to give only three of the 40 Lok Sabha seats to the ruling party at the Centre and promised that the mistake won’t be repeated.

“Congress is a very big umbrella organisation for secular forces. It has a big role in halting the march of communal forces. Congress is a party, whose roots are spread across the country. It should not be underestimated.

“Merely because it is not responding to the continuous abuses by others does not mean it is weak. Gentleness is being misused. This is no flattery I am doing. The country needs Congress now. Did any other government worked the way UPAI and UPAII did. There is no possibility for the BJP in Bihar,” Mr. Prasad said emphasising that the next polls is a fight between communal and secular forces.

“In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the fight is again between communal and secular forces and the communal forces are again trying to bring in the same agenda...Fascist forces are trying to divide the nation. BJP has nothing do with Hindutva, it is only interested in coming to power by invoking Hindu Rasthra

“Others may or may not understand this design. I understand it. I will try to meet this challenge with whatever might I have at my command. I come from a state, where aware secular persons live... We had stopped the horse of communalism in Bihar earlier also. Bihar will do it this time as well. There will be no big possibility for BJP in Bihar,” Mr. Prasad said.