Not merged with BJP, still committed to secularism, says Ram Vilas Paswan

Admitting that people from the minority community do have reservations about Narendra Modi, LJP chief Paswan said that his party’s commitment to secularism and socialism remains unchanged.The alliance with BJP happened as ‘there was no option left for us’ after Congress and RJD ‘humiliated’ the party. ‘There are no two opinions that we made last-ditch efforts to remain within UPA. (But) when I felt I was not required there, I went with the party decision to look for an alternative.

‘LJP’s parliamentary board asked me whether my personal emotions were more important than the interests of the party. (But) it is also a fact that the decision to ally with BJP had my nod,’ he said.

Detailing the circumstances which forced him to join NDA, Paswan said that while RJD leaders were talking about giving only two or three seats to LJP, despite his best efforts and a meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Congress did not take the initiative to sew together a workable Congress-RJD-LJP alliance in Bihar.

LJP general secretary Abdul Khaliq and himself till the last moment kept withstanding ‘pressure’ from the rank and file of the party for aligning with BJP, Paswan said.

He also alleged secular parties like RJD, Congress and JD(U) had not agreed to support his demand for a Muslim chief minister in Bihar after the 2005 Assembly polls.
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