Sources said that on Friday, the BJP had to request LJP president Chirag Paswan, son of the late Ram Vilas Paswan, not to attend the meeting after JD(U) made it clear it would stay away if Paswan was present.
On January 20, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi sent a letter to Paswan requesting him to attend the NDA meeting to discuss “important issues and business for the ensuing Budget session of the Parliament.”
On Saturday, after he skipped the meeting, Paswan told The Sunday Express: “I could not attend the meeting due to my health. I was feeling unwell so I have kept myself in the self-isolation.”
Incidentally, the meeting was virtual.
Joshi, in his January 20 letter, had said that the link for the meeting will be shared in “due course.”
Speaking to The Sunday Express Saturday, JD(U)’s senior leader K C Tyagi said: “The Prime Minister himself declared in Bihar that the Nitish Kumar-led NDA has BJP, JD(U), VIP (Vikassheel Insaan Party) and HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha). BJP president J P Nadda had categorically said it was the NDA…In Bihar, this alliance just scraped through. How can Chirag, who attacked the NDA so fiercely, be part of NDA now?”
Paswan’s LJP quit the NDA in Bihar just ahead of the election objecting to the BJP’s decision to fight the election under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. The LJP, which campaigned intensely against Kumar, contested almost all the constituencies where JD(U) had its candidates. But he praised Modi and sought votes in his name.
For all the noise, the LJP won only one seat but its campaign against Nitish is considered to have played a role in pulling down the JD(U) from 71 to 43 seats.
After the alliance won, JD(U) said the LJP cannot be taken back in the NDA at any cost. Indeed, BJP leaders came out against Chirag Paswan, who, many believed was prompted by the BJP to ensure that “Nitish was cut to size.”
The NDA has lost its traditional allies Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) as well as the Hanuman Beniwal-led RLP. Both SAD and RLP walked out over the farm laws.
In the meeting, Modi urged allies to counter the Opposition on issues like farm laws. “The PM said that after the pandemic, a new world order is about to take shape and India has a big role to play in the emerging new world order,” said Joshi.
“He said this decade is very important, just like the decade after World War II…and unlike in the past, we are not going to be a mute spectator. We will rise to the occasion based on our traditions and ideals of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the PM said.”
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