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‘Salt of NDA’: LJP leader says party expects Union cabinet berth ‘sooner or later’

Abdul Khaliq said LJP has no issues with BJP fielding Sushil Kumar Modi for the Rajya Sabha berth vacated after the death of LJP founder and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: December 1, 2020 7:31:07 am
delhi confidential, delhi, lok sabha, members oath lok sabha, reena paswan, chirag paswan, prem lata, brijendra singh, reena paswan chirag paswan, chirag paswan lok sabha oath, brijendra singh lok sabha oath, latest news, indian expressLok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey/File)

LJP principal general secretary Abdul Khaliq Monday said LJP is the “salt of NDA” and the party expects “representation in the Union cabinet sooner or later”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, he said LJP has no issues with BJP fielding Sushil Kumar Modi for the Rajya Sabha berth vacated after the death of LJP founder and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

“Giving us a Rajya Sabha berth is part of the BJP’s commitment to us before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. But the BJP did not promise a berth from Bihar. Now that they have fielded Sushil Kumar Modi, we have no issues. LJP’s relationship with BJP is as warm as ever,” he said.

Read| Chirag downplays BJP fielding Sushil Modi for seat won by Ram Vilas Paswan

Khaliq said the NDA government at the Centre currently has just one non-BJP minister — Ramdas Athawale from Republican Party of India. “I have told Home Minister Amit Shah in our previous meetings that LJP is the salt of NDA. We do expect representation in the Union cabinet sooner or later,” he said.

Khaliq said the LJP always remains relevant in Bihar politics. “When BJP lost the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had mentioned LJP’s importance. We were then part of UPA. And when we returned to NDA before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, we did very well as a unit. LJP won six out of seven seats in 2014 and six out of six in 2019,” said Khaliq.

Asked what the future holds for LJP, he said, “We have public support. Chirag Paswan has emerged as a leader. He is connecting well with masses. He will rebuild the party structure.”

He said the LJP’s performance must not be judged by the number of seats it won in the 2020 Bihar election, but by the public response it received. LJP won one seat — Matihani in Begusarai — in the recently held election.

Opinion| LJP’s Bihar showing was disappointing, but Chirag Paswan emerged a leader

Khaliq said while Ram Vilas Paswan’s death is an irreparable loss, Chirag has been “responding very well as our leader”.

Asked about the RJD’s assurance of support if the LJP fielded Ram Vilas Paswan’s wife Reena, Khaliq said, “They should not try to play mind games with us. We are strongly with the NDA. And if they have the numbers, why don’t they field their own candidate?”

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