INDIA Bloc Certain To Disintegrate In Bihar: Union Minister

New Delhi:

Amid the JD(U)’s perceived unhappiness with the opposition INDIA bloc constituents, a key BJP-ally from Bihar Saturday claimed that the state’s ruling combine is “100 per cent” certain to break and a “good development” for the NDA will follow the Ram temple consecration ceremony.

Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party leader Pashupati Kumar Paras said differences between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad have deepened.

“Their alliance is 100 per cent certain to break. ‘Kharmas’ (a period considered inauspicious in Hindu belief) has ended. The idol of Lord Ram will be consecrated on January 22 in Ayodhya. An auspicious period has begun and whatever will happen will be good for the BJP-led NDA,” he told PTI.

The Dalit leader said the entire country, including Bihar, is immersed in the fervour surrounding the Ram temple, and the opposition has no hope in the elections.

Asked if the issue will have an impact on Bihar, where the RJD-JD(U)-Congress-Left alliance is considered strong, Paras asserted that they would all be swept aside in the Lok Sabha polls, adding that the combine will soon collapse.

The JD(U) has long pushed for its president Kumar to be given a key position in the opposition INDIA grouping.

The party, however, was cold to the offer of Kumar being made the alliance’s convener as it came along with the appointment of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge as the bloc’s chairperson.

There is a view within the JD(U) that Kumar’s seniority as the alliance’s longest-serving chief minister and his efforts to bring together opposition parties have not been duly acknowledged.

Prasad and his son, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, met with Kumar on Friday and later, dismissed talks of a rift in their alliance.

What has further intensified the speculation around state politics is a recent comment by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the BJP will consider any proposal for Kumar or the party’s other former allies to rejoin the NDA.

Shah had in the past asserted that doors for Kumar to join hands with the BJP have been shut.

Paras also took a swipe at his nephew and Lok Sabha MP Chirag Paswan amid suggestions that Paswan may field his mother from the Hajipur seat, a pocket borough of his late father Ram Vilas Paswan.

Paras represents the constituency in the Lok Sabha and is keen to contest from the seat again while Paswan, who has been winning from Jamui since 2014, wants to reclaim what he believes is his father’s political legacy.

“It does not matter what Chirag Paswan says. What matters to me is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Shah and BJP president J P Nadda tell me,” he said, asserting that as the sitting MP, it was his right to contest from Hajipur.

Claiming that it was Ram Vilas Paswan who chose him to represent Hajipur in the Lok Sabha, Paras said it was “embarrassing” that his nephew made his mother appear on a political dais in Bihar as she was always opposed to joining politics.

The Union minister noted that his faction has been recognised as the parent Lok Janshakti Party in the Lok Sabha and Chirag Paswan is technically a member of the same party, asserting that it was his “mercy” that he as its leader did not move to terminate his membership for “anti-party activities”.

Though the Election Commission has recognised Paswan’s faction as the LJP(Ram Vilas) and Paras’s group as the RLJP after the division in the parent Lok Janshakti Party, the minister has been recognised as its leader in the Lok Sabha as five of its six MPs had sided with him.

However, the Jamui MP has also joined the NDA, leaving the BJP to negotiate a delicate balancing act between the two leaders.

BJP sources said their party is working to reconcile their differences before the Lok Sabha polls.

In a dig at Paswan, Paras said the BJP had his nephew join the NDA meeting as it wanted to bring together more allies in a show of strength last year after the opposition formed the INDIA bloc.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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