Bihar election 2020: Chirag Paswan said that he is not looking at who becomes Chief Minister but wants a respectable representation for the LJP in the government.
In yet another hint at its growing unease with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as well as the straining of ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party, Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan has said that his party is not in power in the poll-bound state and that his party does not get an audience with the BJP over matters related to Bihar. In an interview with The Indian Express, Chirag launched a frontal assault on Kumar over a host of issues including the handling of the coronavirus situation, migrants exodus and floods in Bihar.
When pointed out that he sounds more like an opposition leader and less like an ally, Chirag said interest of Bihar’s 10 crore people is paramount for him.
“I have always been saying Bihar first Bihari First, and when I travelled through the state, even then my statements are seen with anger. They say I am questioning my own government,” he said.
“First things first, I have no government in Bihar. Let me be very clear. The LJP is not a part of the government in Bihar. We have no minister in the government. Till there was, I had a platform to make my suggestions reach the cabinet. Since our minister fought the Lok Sabha elections and became MP, we have no minister,” the Jamui MP said.
Chirag, however, said that the LJP supports the Bihar government because “I have an alliance with the BJP”.
The BJP and JD(U) have been sharing power in Bihar since 2005, barring a four-year gap from 2013-17. The LJP joined the alliance only in 2017 after Nitish’s return to the BJP. The LJP got a berth in Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet. However, LJP minister Pashupati Paras had to resign after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Hajipur in the general elections held in May 2019. The LJP has no representation in the state government now. It has only two MLAs in the Legislative Assembly.
Chirag also expressed unhappiness over the BJP’s treatment meted out to his party.
“At the Centre, I am supporting them. But you have shut all windows. You do not answer the phone. You don’t reply to letters. I am only giving suggestions…,” he said.
When asked for how long has communication been shut with the Chief Minister, he replied, “Since I started this Bihar first, Bihari first yatra. I started in October, November last year. Since then, I have not spoken to him. On the Sushant Singh Rajput matter, for the first time after so long I spoke to him for ten minutes. But that was only on Sushant.”
To a question on CM’s face for the upcoming Assembly elections, Chirag said that he is not looking at who becomes Chief Minister. The politician said he wants a respectable representation in the government.
“My concern is that whatever government is formed next, if an NDA government is made, or a government is made where the LJP is part of it, then there needs to be a Common Minimum Programme. This is the tradition of every coalition government,” he underlined.
He said this time it didn’t happen because overnight the Chief Minister left Mahagatbandhan and joined NDA.
“The agenda is the one of the Mahagathbandhan that is operating. That is a reason to worry for me. If work is happening on ‘saat nischay’, then whose agenda is that? An agenda made by Congress, JDU and RJD. I want my own agenda. Even on CAA-NRC, whatever the Centre proposed, he (Nitish Kumar) passed a resolution against that in Vidhan Sabha. Tomorrow, in another government if I am ignored, or no agenda of mine is included, why would I be part of that government?” he asked.
He then demanded a Common Minimum Programme among the alliance partners before the polls, saying, “Of course before polls, post polls who has seen. If nobody is asking now, who will ask then?”
Bihar is slated to go to polls in October-November later this year. The LJP chief had earlier said that the party will contest elections in an alliance with the BJP.