Union Minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday stunned everyone when he praised Congress party while slamming RJD leaders, particularly Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi. Without taking names, he termed Lalu’s wife as ‘angootha chaap (illiterate person) who became the chief minister of Bihar.'
“It’s an undeniable fact that Congress is still minorities first choice. When we (Lalu and Paswan) were in the UPA, I had told Lalu Prasad during the 2009 Lok Sabha election that we should give Congress a few more seats to contest. But Lalu said: No need. As a result, all of us lost during 2009 parliamentary polls when votes split among the secular parties,” said Paswan during his interaction with the media here on Friday.
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Paswan’s praise for Congress and ridicule for RJD, particularly Lalu, is seen as an attempt to drive a wedge between the two important allies of Mahagatbandhan. “Even today, Congress is in favour of 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections among the upper castes, while the RJD has been opposing it,” said Paswan, in his attempt to widen the chasm.
Incidentally, Paswan has decided not to contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections from Hajipur after Amit Shah assured him to send him to Rajya Sabha from any BJP-ruled States in April this year.
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Paswan, who is now famously called ‘Mausam vaigyanik’ (weather scientist), who knows in advance which way the wind will blow, however, predicted that Modi will return to power. “Time has changed. Voters are now conscious. Gone are the days when an ‘angootha chaap’ (illiterate person) would somehow become the Chief Minister,” said Paswan, in an oblique reference to Rabri Devi, who became Bihar Chief Minister in 1997 when Lalu was sent to jail in the fodder scam.
The RJD took umbrage at Paswan’s unsavoury remarks. “Paswan seems to be a great opportunist leader who forgot what favour Rabri had done when he lost the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Hajipur. It was Rabri Devi, who persuaded Lalu ji to send Paswan to Rajya Sabha (through the support of RJD, as LJP had no representative in the Assembly) so that he could retain his bungalow (12, Janpath) in New Delhi and remain relevant in Indian politics,” said Lalu’s key aide and RJD MLA Bhai Birendra.