Boost for Narendra Modi as LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan makes outrageous overture

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 25 2014, 03:04am hrs
Narendra ModiCourt says Narendra Modi is clean, then I do not think it is an issue to talk about now: LJP's Chirag Paswan (PTI)
In a shocking U-turn, LJP makes it clear that it has no hesitation in working with Narendra Modi despite the taint of 2002 Gujarat riots, signalling his fury against the delay in firming up seat-sharing arrangement with Congress and RJD. Both Ram Vilas Paswan and son Chirag today dropped enough hints of moving away from the so-called secular front.

Chirag Paswan, son of LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, said the party's Parliamentary Board will meet soon to decide the future strategy but refused to clearly spell out whether the party would be having an alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sources said Chirag, who heads LJP's Parliamentary Board, and his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras are in talks with Bharatiya Janata Party for a possible alliance.

BJP MP Shahnawaj Hussain had called on LJP chief a few days back while senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had visited Paswan on January 14 on the day of Makar Sankranti.

Chirag said there is "distress" in LJP over the way the seat-sharing issue has been dragging with Congress and RJD.

Asked about Narendra Modi and whether LJP would have no problem with him in view of cases against him in connection with 2002 riots, he said, "If the court has given its verdict and they say he (Narendra Modi) is clean, then I do not think it is an issue to talk about now."

Sources in LJP said a decision on the alliance will be finalised in a day or two.

In the wake of such moves seen as bargaining tactics by Paswan, Prasad appealed to him not to join hands with "communal forces" and remain with him to "save the nation".

LJP sources said that the party, which was a part of NDA before parting way after the 2002 Gujarat riots, is unhappy over the dilly dallying by Congress and RJD over seat-sharing and is considering other options.

At the same time, the sources said, the alliance with Congress and RJD stands as of now.

Though a number of leaders in LJP are favouring an alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party, sources close to Paswan said that the leader has not yet taken the final call on dumping UPA.

His anger is more with RJD, whose leaders are not ready to accommodate LJP's demand for at least nine seats.

LJP also fears that RJD could field dummy candidates in some seats spared for it as was done last time.

Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh, however, was evasive on the issue, saying he was "not aware of what kind of talks" are taking place with LJP.

Asked if there would be any decision soon, he said, "if some announcement has to be made, you will be told."

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said a number of parties are reaching out to BJP as it is surging and Congress is losing. "But unless something concrete happens, we will not like to share anything," he said.