Patna | All is well in the NDA in Bihar and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is our leader in the state, Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said on Sunday, downplaying the JD(U) leader’s decision not to join the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
“All is well in the NDA. Nitish Kumar is our leader. Too many conclusions must not be drawn. He (Kumar) has also said that he was, is and will remain in the NDA. Moreover, I am there to act as a cementing force,” Paswan told reporters here when faced with a barrage of questions from journalists over the developments.
Asked whether he would try to persuade Kumar to change his stance and agree to join the Modi government, Paswan said, “He (Kumar) is capable of taking his own decisions. Moreover, where is the problem when he has made it amply clear that he is fully with the NDA.”
The Lok Janshakti Party leader evaded queries on the latest expansion of the state cabinet, wherein no LJP leader was inducted even though its sole minister Pashupati Kumar Paras had now been elected to the Lok Sabha.
“Let me tell you, when (Nitish) Kumar formed the NDA government, I did not approach him with the request that you make Paras a minister as he is my younger brother. It was he ( Nitish Kumar) who insisted that, given Paras’ experience and seniority, Paras must represent the LJP in the state cabinet,” Paswan claimed.
In the cabinet expansion that took place earlier in the day, eight JD(U) legislators from both houses of the legislature in the state were inducted.
Paswan also lambasted Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, for repeatedly calling the chief minister “palturam” (turncoat) and sought to remind the young RJD MLA that Kumar was old enough to be his father.
Kumar had walked out of the Grand Alliance following allegations of corruption against Yadav, younger son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who was then the deputy chief minister.
Paswan also took exception to Yadav’s mother Rabri Devi, herself a former chief minister, using the epithet “jallad” (executioner) for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the campaign for Lok Sabha elections and remarked “the people have punished them for using foul language”.
In its worst ever performance since it was formed in 1997, the RJD drew a blank in the general elections wherein the NDA won 39 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state and the Congress bagged one.