Neither Lalu Yadav Nor Nitish Kumar is Messiah of Mandal Politics: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

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Neither Lalu Yadav Nor Nitish Kumar is Messiah of Mandal Politics: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

File photo of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.


New Delhi:  Amid a political slugfest over the caste-based census data, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan today attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, saying "none of them are messiah of the Mandal" politics.

Interacting with the media at the Press Club in New Delhi, Mr Paswan repeatedly attacked his foe-turned-friend-turned-foe Lalu Yadav and alleged that contrary to his claim the then Bihar Chief Minister was "diffident" about arresting L K Advani in 1990 during the peak of Ayodhya movement and was apprehensive that communal riots could break out.

"They (Nitish and Lalu) are master of lies. They keep talking about Mandals. But they are not the messiah of Mandal... As far as Advani's arrest is concerned, it was planned long back. He was to be arrested in Uttar Pradesh but then something happened.

"The then Prime Minister V P Singh told Lalu Prasad in the night that he had to arrest Advani. Lalu was diffident. He said that communal riots could break out but Singh told him not to worry as arrangements were in place," said Mr Paswan.

Mr Prasad has repeatedly been claiming that he arrested Mr Advani in Bihar and stopped his 'Rath Yatra' and that his alliance with Nitish Kumar is to prevent "communal forces" from coming to power in Bihar.

Mr Paswan, who heads Lok Janshakti Party, a key NDA constituent from Bihar, expressed confidence that the NDA will repeat its Lok Sabha performance in the state and win over 150 of total 243 Assembly seats.

He, however, acknowledged that caste does play a role in the state elections noting "had issues mattered in elections in Bihar, neither Lalu nor Nitish could have ruled for 15 and 10 years each," he said.

Political watchers believe that the combined vote share of Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar, both prominent OBC faces, could offset BJP's plan to capture power in the politically crucial state but Mr Paswan was dismissive of any such eventuality.


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