Former union minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan has said there is no clear message yet from the Congress about a possible pre-poll alliance with his party and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar.
“Earlier everyone was in a dilemma on whether the Congress wanted an alliance at all, because it was not showing its hand on the issue. Then it became clear that they do want an alliance between the three parties. But till now, there is no clear message from the party,” said Paswan, speaking at The Indian Express Idea Exchange on Tuesday. “Time is of essence because elections are around the corner. So there is a need to formally come to the table and hold discussions. But nobody knows why it is not happening. Sab log pareshaan hai.”
Paswan also took a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), saying they were behaving like freshers who think they are “heroes of the college”. He criticised the Delhi Congress for supporting the AAP government.
“When we were freshers, we thought we were heroes of the college. By the time we finished final year, we realised we were a big zero. Kejriwal is also like a fresher who thinks he is the hero. He will learn his lesson as the days go by,” he said. “It’s a strange decision by the Congress. They had only eight MLAs in Delhi and they had no business supporting the AAP… they could have gone for a repoll instead. But now they are getting the heat from AAP every day on every issue and are still supporting them,” he said.
On an alliance in Bihar, Paswan said he met Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently, and it is clear that the three-party pre-poll alliance will take place. But there has been little movement so far.
“I spoke to C P Joshi (Congress general secretary in charge of Bihar) twice on the phone. I told him to tell us the problem. Let’s diagnose the illness first and then we can address the issues, if any. But there is still no clarity,” he said.
Paswan said the three parties have talked to each other separately, but are yet to come together for talks. “Laluji and I have spoken separately on this. Even he is in the dark about what is happening and why no message is forthcoming from the Congress,” he said.
Asked if he feared the Congress would go Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Paswan said this does not look possible. “During the presidential election, the JD(U) voted for the Congress candidate, then Congress also granted funds to Bihar. But now it does not look like an alliance between the two will happen as Nitish is attacking both the BJP and Congress,” he said.
The alliance in Bihar would benefit all the three parties, he said. “If you see the 2009 results, the number of votes the Congress candidates got was almost equal to the margin by which our candidates lost,” he said. “The alliance will get more votes from Muslims, Yadavs and Dalits,” he said.
“Kejriwal is not touching the fundamental questions like reservation. He is not saying what his views on reservation are, be it SC/ST reservation or minority reservation. The day he opens his mouth on this issue and speaks either way, he will lose 50 per cent of his votes,” he said. “The same thing happened with V P Singh. Everyone loved him, but the day he opened up the questions on empowerment of Dalits, half the country went against him,” said Paswan.
He said Kejriwal is building the perception that the AAP is the only party which is above board and believes in simple living. “But if you see other parties like the Left, their leaders have also followed simple living all along,” he said.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.