Ram Vilas Paswan – Bjp's big bet in Bihar
Known for his uncanny ability to gauge the direction wind, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan was right to hop onto the NDA bandwagon ahead of the 2014 General elections.
And now when the BJP is planning to win Bihar, Paswan along with Jitan Ram Manjhi have emerged as key cogs in the grand plan to defeat the grand alliance of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav.
By putting his Dalit vote share in BJP's basket, the 69-year-old LJP leader is seeking to regain the ground he had almost lost in 2010 Bihar polls. In the last state elections, his party could only bag three seats as against 10 seats in 2005.
Paswan's party will contest 40 of the total 243 seats in Bihar. However, the strong challenge from Manjhi has posed a challenge for him.
The fight reached a flashpoint when Ram Vilas and Manjhi clashed over Jamui and Chakia seats. Paswan, whose son Chirag Paswan represents Jamui Lok Sabha constituency, wanted to field his candidates in these two seats while Manjhi was keen to filed his candidates from the said seats.
With the Bjp titling in favour of Manjhi, the LJP was left shocked.
“There was no anger but discontent as there was a difference between the seat sharing formula we were told about earlier and what was announced yesterday. So we were taken aback,” Paswan's son Chirag was quoted as saying by media reports.
For Paswan, it’s perform or perish situation as now he is not the only Dalit vote-getter in the NDA. He knows that securing a satisfactory number of seats in Bihar Assembly is his crying need at the moment.
But, Ram Vilas Paswan, who started his electoral career by winning Bihar Assembly election in 1969 as a member of Samyukta Socialist Party, is no novice and is considered capable of wriggling out of the challenges of coalition politics.
His past record proves that he has time and again made fair choices to keep his political career upright.
Surprising everyone, he dumped his old allies RJD and Congress to join hands with BJP and won 2014 national elections by over 2.25 lakh votes from his traditional seat Hajipur (SC) in Bihar.
And, who knows, the LJP chief, who is repeatedly being seen sitting alongside BJP giant Amit Shah during most of his press conferences in Bihar, may be eyeing the CM's chair.