New Delhi: Locked in a keen contest with the grand alliance of JDU, RJD and Congress in Bihar, NDA is eyeing at the division in Muslim-Yadav combination besides banking on the development plank of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his "appeal" among the youth.
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who heads the NDA constituent LJP, is confident that time has now come for a "change" in Bihar politics and is dismissive of the coming together of Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal for Bihar polls.
"The Bihar Chief Minister is trying to wash the stain of aligning with RJD chief Lalu Prasad whereas the AAP leader's appeal among youths does not go beyond Delhi," he says.
In an interview to PTI, Paswan countered perceptions regarding the perceived low vote base of the BJP-led NDA vis a vis the earlier Muslim-Yadav vote combination of Lalu and Kumar's reach among Extremely Backward Castes.
Though the Union Minister vehemently rejected Opposition charge that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi is entering poll fray in Bihar at the behest of the NDA but maintained that the Hyderabad MP will indeed make a dent in Muslim votes making it tough for the rivals keep Muslim-Yadav combine intact. "Lalu and Nitish have so far only used Muslims in Bihar as vote bank," he said.
Owaisi has announced his party will contest 25 seats in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections.
"M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) combination is breaking up this time. Yadavs will not vote overwhelmingly for Lalu Prasad. BJP also has Yadav leaders like Ram Kripal Yadav and Nand Kishore Yadav. There are multiple leaders among Yadavs and BJP will get a considerable chunk of that vote.
"Nothing has been done for Muslims in last 15 years rule of Lalu and 10 years rule of Kumar. In this backdrop, Owaisi is drawing crowds in Seemanchal region of the state. The crowd in his programmes is an indication that Muslims have got disenchanted with Lalu and Nitish. This helps us."
When told about the Opposition charge that BJP was propping up Owaisi to divide Muslim votes, Paswan shot back "That is absurd. It is the BJP and the NDA led by it, which is constantly under most intense attack from Owaisi."