Patna: As the internal feud within the Lok Janshakti Party intensifies, Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal on Wednesday (June 22) used the party chief Lalu Prasad’s pet tool of attacking the RSS while advising LJP president Chirag Paswan to leave the followers of Bunch of Thoughts.
Without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party, Yadav said that it was for Chirag to decide whether he would stand with the followers of Bunch of Thoughts, a book written by M.S. Golwalkar, former sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and one of its prominent ideologues, or with the ideology of the father of the Indian Constitution, Ambedkar.
Soon after landing in Bihar after spending nearly two months in Delhi with his ailing father Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi, who led the Opposition Mahagathbandhan in the last Bihar Assembly elections, made it clear that it was for Chirag to take a final decision over his future politics.
Earlier during the 2015 Assembly elections in Bihar, it was Lalu Prasad, who had attacked the RSS using Bunch of Thoughts, saying that the book was against reservation and anti-dalit. He had also dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to burn Golwalkar’s book. He even made a point to carry the book to his public meetings and distributed it among the people to expose the real face of right wing politics.
Tejashwi’s statement holds significance as it came a day after Chirag stated that his ally BJP abandoned him during the ongoing rebellion against him by his uncle Pasupati Kumar Paras along with four other party MPs to split the LJP. Chirag had also expressed hurt over the BJP’s silence on the issue, adding that LJP’s relations with the saffron party cannot remain one sided.
On the other hand, Chirag, who used to repeatedly describe himself as Hanuman of PM Modi, has been blamed for the split in LJP by senior BJP leaders of Bihar.
While there has been no public invitation to Chirag Paswan to join the Mahagathbandhan, senior party leaders of the alliance have reportedly offered Chirag to join hands with the Opposition, as per sources.
Tejashwi Yadav also blamed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) for the split in LJP and removing Chirag Paswan as the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, an allegation which has also been levelled by Chirag. “Nitish Kumar attempted to split LJP in 2005 and 2010, it is well known,” Tejashwi claimed.
However, Nitish Kumar has denied reports of his party’s role behind the split in LJP.
The Opposition leader also reminded Chirag that at a time when LJP did not have a single MLA or MP in Bihar, it was RJD chief Lalu Prasad who had sent then LJP president, Ram Vilas Paswan to the Rajya Sabha on RJD’s quota.
According to political observers, Chirag, who became the de-facto chief of LJP after his father’s death last year, does not possess the elder’s Paswan’s knack for managing political relation and failed to sense the JD-U and BJP’s attempts to split his party. Ram Vilas Paswan’s political strength lay with his social support based among his own caste – Paswan, locally known as Dusadh, a militant dalit community. As per estimates, Paswans account for nearly 5 to 6% of the total population of the state.
In mid-June, five of six LJP MPs formally rebelled against Chirag and elected Paras as the new leader of the party. According to sources in the LJP camp close to Chirag, the ground for a split was prepared with the help of both the ruling parties.
Political observers recalled the events of last year when the LJP claimed that it has an ideological tussle with the JD-U, not with the BJP. Later, when Chirag refused to contest the polls under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, who was also the chief ministerial candidate of the NDA, it was a clear sign that he would damage JD-U's prospects in the polls.
Meanwhile, taking politics to the ground post the split in his party, Chirag has already announced plans to launch the Ashirvad Yatra from Hajipur in the state early next month on Ram Vilas Paswan’s birth anniversary to reach out to people. It remains to be seen whether the Paswan junior would be able to meet the challenge of securing the support among his party’s vote base.