Former Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday ruled out the possibility of his ever joining hands with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar if the Congress attempted a fresh realignment in Bihar.
Talking to reporters on the occasion of his birthday, Mr. Paswan said it would be premature to conjecture that the Congress would be aligning with Mr. Kumar for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections merely because it had voted in his favour on the vote of confidence he sought in the Bihar Assembly after parting ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Mr. Paswan categorically rooted for his alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and forming any coalition in the State at Mr. Prasad’s cost, no matter what the Congress intended to do in Bihar.
“We’ll want the Congress to join hands with us. But what the Congress will do is not clear. It may also be said that the Congress is trying to build a buffer in the form of Mr. Kumar to keep the Samajwadi Party in check,” he said.
He refused to comment when asked if the Congress was waiting for the CBI court’s ruling in a fodder scam case involving Mr. Prasad on July 15.
Mr. Paswan claimed the RJD-LJP combine was in a comfortable position after the vertical split between the BJP and Mr. Kumar, which was evident from the by-election to the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat which RJD nominee Prabhunath Singh won by a handsome margin.
He said irrespective of the Congress’ decision in Bihar, Mr. Paswan said it was not possible for him to compromise on his principles of secularism. He accused Mr. Kumar of attending the BJP’s national executive committee meeting as a special guest in 1995, just three years after the Babri Masjid demolition.
L.K. Advani’s image was the same then as that of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi now, he charged, stressing Mr. Kumar had not resigned as Railway Minister from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government even after the mayhem in Gujarat.
Pointing out that he had quit the government and the NDA after the genocide in Gujarat, Mr. Paswan accused Mr. Kumar of turning a blind eye to the riots by not ordering the statutory probe into the attack on the Sabarmati Express.