Paswan drops hint of Chirag being in ministerial race

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader and cabinet minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution in the outgoing Union cabinet, Ram Vilas Paswan, dropped a broad hint Friday that his son Chirag Paswan had all the leadership qualities in him to be a minister.

Paswan, who felicitated all his six newly elected MPs from Bihar, including his son, said, “Chirag is the future of the party [LJP] as he has all the leadership qualities in him.”

The minister said it was Chirag who had refused a Central minister’s berth proposed to him in 2014.

“When we went to the NDA [in 2014], the then president of the BJP, Rajnath Singh, had proposed to make Chirag a minister. I was okay with it, but my son refused, saying he was inexperienced and wanted more time to gain experience. He then requested his papa [read Paswan] be allowed to become a minister. That [whether Chirag becomes a minister or not this time] is our family and party issue and we will decide it later,” he added.

Paswan, however, stopped short of publicly saying if his son was now prepared to take up the responsibility of a Central minister. “The swearing-in ceremony is on May 30, wait till then,” he added.

He was quick to add that there was a party parliamentary board, which had a chairman, then the state president [Pashupati Kumar Paras] and above all the Prime Minister was the last word [in deciding who became a minister].

Paswan congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attributed the NDA’s resounding victory to Modi magic. He also thanked Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and said there was perfect harmony and team work within NDA.

Looking back at the results in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, he said polarisation [of voters] was complete, with the poor, the Dalits, mahadalits, backward, extremely backward castes and even the Muslims rejecting their ‘netas’ (leaders) and embracing Modi.

“Sab jaat-paat, dharm-mazhab walon ki dukaan band go gayi hai (leaders whose politics revolved around caste, creed and religion have become redundant),” he added.

Paswan also took a veiled swipe at RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav for not exercising restraint and referring to the PM as a “jallad” (hangman) and Bihar chief minister as “Paltu chacha” (for frequently switching political alliance).

The LJP leader said it was the RJD’s arrogance, which led to its downfall. “The last time (in 2015 Assembly polls), RJD won seats (80 in a house of 243) because it was piggyriding on JD(U).”

First Published:
May 25, 2019 10:19 IST

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