PATNA: bjp is confident that Ram Vilas Paswan will not be leaving their fold. Party’s senior leaders said Paswan’s recent discordant voice over the SC/ST Act issue was aimed at countering Mayawati’s pitch on the issue and pursuing the BJP bring an amendment bill, which was indeed brought under Paswan’s pressure.
“Paswan knows he cannot work with Lalu Prasad anymore. He had communicated to BJP leaders that he was raising the SC/ST Act issue to not walk out of the alliance but counter Mayawati’s competitive pitch on the issue,” a senior BJP leader told ET, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Another senior party leader said BJP however did not expect Upendra Khushwaha to stick on in the NDA alliance and was prepared to let him go. “It is anyways house-full in NDA in Bihar on 40 seats. There will be a little damage of Khushwaha votes if RLSP walks out of NDA but we can recoup that damage as Nitish Kumar has always played the politics of Kurmi-Khushwaha voters too,” the second BJP leader said.
Seat-sharing remains a tricky issue with JDU insisting on contesting more seats than BJP. Kumar last month said BJP President Amit Shah may get back to him with a formula in 4-5 weeks. But the Muzzafarpur incident could delay the same with Kumar clearly on the back-foot now.
It seems the ‘woman-friendly’ image of Kumar is being dented severely for the first time, amidst his reluctance to sack his social welfare minister Manju Verma who has refused to take moral responsibility for the incident. Verma, whose husband is also alleged to have visited the child home in Muzzafarpur, has said she will not resign as the couple is being targeted since they come from the backward Khushwaha community.