New Delhi, Aug 12 (PTI) Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan today batted for the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) to join the Union Cabinet, saying it was a misfortune that for 27 years the party which ruled Bihar was not part of the government at the Centre.
He also played down reports of a likely tussle among Bihar NDA allies over distribution of seats as the entry of the JD(U) in the alliance would affect claims of other parties, saying the Lok Sabha poll was far away and the grouping was like a “family”.
At a press conference, he also lashed out at JD(U) rebel Sharad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying the former was a leader without a base while Prasad was using secularism as a cover to hide his and his family’s corruption.
“I will welcome the JD(U) to the Union government. It has been a misfortune of Bihar that for 27 years the party which ruled the state was not part of the government at the Centre.
Now Bihar will progress at a very fast pace,” he said.
He claimed that the Congress in Bihar was on the verge of a split as many of its MLAs were like fish without water after the fall of the coalition government.
Taking at dig at Sharad Yadav, Paswan said the JD(U) leader believes that a party having him was ‘krantikari’ (revolutionary) and without him was ‘sarkari’ (government’s).
He was in government for many years of the NDA government’s rule, the LJP president said, noting that Yadav was a minister in the Vajpayee government.
“There is nobody supporting him (Yadav). He says he is taking people’s opinion. He is a Rajya Sabha MP and he should take opinion of MLAs who have sent him to the House. All of them are with Nitish Kumar,” he said.
Paswan claimed Prasad’s rally in Patna on August 27 was aimed at covering his corruption and that he resorted to similar “antics” after getting embroiled in the fodder scam.
Paswan, Yadav and Prasad were together for years as part of various socialist parties and alliances before they went their separate ways. Kumar was also with them before he formed his own party in 1994 to take on Prasad, then the Bihar’s chief minister.
The Dalit leader also demanded tough action in the corruption cases involving the RJD chief and his family.
Prasad, he claimed, has so far not rejected his and his family’s ownership of various assets, allegedly linked to corruption.
He also announced plans to strengthen his party.
District presidents of the LJP would meet during October 5-6 in Rajgir and its national executive would meet on December 9-10.
It also plans to celebrate its foundation day in a big way on Novemeber 28, he said. The LJP was formed on this day in 2000.
His son and party MP Chirag Paswan would tour Bihar between September 4 and November 26 during which he would address workers in different places and hold public meetings.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.