September 24, 2020

Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar reflect NDA discontent

Patna: With discontent brewing within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar, two senior BJP leaders Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupendra Yadav recently met Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and assured him of better coordination.

With an year left for the 2019 general elections, the meeting between both the parties is being viewed as crucial. The timing of the meeting is also being debated in political circles here.

Sources claim that the BJP deputed its leaders to meet Mr Paswan after he said that the NDA needed to change its public perception to do better in 2019 polls.

“The BJP should win the ‘confidence’ of all sections of society like the Congress did when it was in power,” Mr Paswan said.

His son, Chirag, MP, had earlier said that BJP’s loss in by-elections was a matter of concern for the NDA.

Mr Paswan is not the only NDA leader who took a tough stand against the alliance ahead of the 2019 contest. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who returned to the NDA fold in July last year, was also critical of some BJP leaders’ alleged communal statements.

“I will not tolerate attempts to disturb peace and communal harmony. I know that some leaders are trying to disturb the social fabric by giving baseless statements,” Mr Kumar had said, while addressing a gathering in Patna recently.

Political observers said that the statements made by these two NDA allies is an indication that cracks are widening within the BJP-led alliance.

Sources claim that communal statements made by some BJP leaders before and after this month’s by-elections had also made Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan uncomfortable.

In the bypolls, the NDA lost the Araria Lok Sabha constituency and the Jehanabad Assembly seat while scoring a consolation win in the Bhabua Assembly seat.

After the elections, anti-national slogans were raised in Araria allegedly by few RJD supporters and this prompted the state government to order a probe.

But statements made by Union minister Giriraj Singh on the issue had caused some discomfort to Mr Kumar. Mr Singh had said that after RJD’s electoral victory Araria will become a hub of terrorist outfit ISIS.

BJP’s Bihar president Nityanand Rai had made similar statements, while campaigning for party’s candidate in Araria before the by-election.

Sharp division within the NDA was also seen when Mr Singh and Mr Rai blamed deputy chief minister and their party colleague Sushil Kumar Modi and the Bihar government for covering up Darbhanga beheading incident by calling it a long pending land dispute.

Political analysts said that reactions by Bihar chief minister and Mr Paswan were the outcome of controversial statements made by senior BJP leaders after the by-elections results.

Mr Singh and Mr Choubey are known for their Hindutva image and efforts by others, including the chief minister and Mr Paswan, may further widen the rift within the NDA in Bihar.

Courtesy: The Asian Age

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