Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday ruled out his party joining the United Progressive Alliance government, scotching rumours that his name was being considered for inclusion in the Union Cabinet.

Talking to journalists, the former Union Minister vowed not to break up his alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad.

Mr. Paswan said he had decided not to become a Union Minister, but to sit on the Opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha over the next six years of his term to highlight the plight of the poor, Dalits, Backward Classes and the minorities.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi telephonically greeted him on his birthday on Monday, he disclosed and pointed out that personal relations were different. “Politically, I have aligned himself with Mr. Prasad and the alliance is unbreakable.”

The LJP and the RJD were on the verge of finalising a seat-sharing arrangement for the Bihar Assembly polls within a week and there was little time for co-opting new partners into the alliance. Mr. Paswan virtually ruled out any alliance with the Congress. His efforts to get the CPI on board had failed, he said.

Mr. Paswan said he and Mr. Prasad would launch their first round of joint campaigning on July 16. They would cover all districts by July 25, addressing altogether 50 meetings to highlight the “failure of the Congress to contain inflation and anti-people policies of the Nitish Kumar government.”

The two parties have called for a Bihar bandh on July 10 to protest against the rise in fuel prices. Mr. Paswan said he and Mr. Prasad did not join the July 5 Bharat bandh as they did not want to associate themselves with the BJP.

He accused the Bihar Chief Minister of sitting on the lap of the BJP and the RSS. Mr. Kumar's recent outburst against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was his desperate bid to woo the minorities, Mr. Paswan alleged.Mr. Paswan also took a dig at Mr. Kumar for appointing Rammai Ram as the chairman of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Commission to take care of the Dussadh community. A separate Maha Dalit Commission too was set up for the other Dalit communities. “Or is it that the Maha Dalit Commission has no relevance?”

Keywords: Paswan-UPA ties

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