Now, Paswan too wants a  share in the Mahayuti pie

Mumbai : Having turned around his party’s fortunes by joining the NDA ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan Thursday said his party would be part of ‘Mahayuti’, a grand alliance led by BJP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, in the assembly elections.

“LJP became part of the Mahayuti after joining the NDA. Number of seats doesn’t matter. We campaigned for Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur and he won by over three lakh votes,” Paswan told reporters. Paswan, Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister, was asked if his party has been formally inducted into the Mahayuti comprising BJP, Shiv Sena, RPI-A of Ramdas Athawale, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna of Raju Shetty and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha of Mahadev Jankar.

“We are part of the Mahayuti and even if we don’t get any seats to contest our alliance will not break,” Paswan said, adding he would discuss the election strategy in Maharashtra with state and central BJP leaders.

The dalit leader from Bihar said his party had contested elections in Maharashtra in the past too.

He ridiculed the recent alliance sewn up by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, saying they had come together as they were not in a position to weather the Narendra Modi wave alone.

“This will not help them in anyway. Parties can join hands, but hearts have to meet. I and Lalu were also in alliance and both lost,” he said, adding LJP would remain with the BJP and contest the upcoming Bihar assembly by-elections. Claiming that both Lalu and Nitish Kumar have lost their base, Paswan said, “Generation next wants development and politics of caste and religion will not work.”

When asked to comment on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi showing unusual aggression in storming the well of the Lok Sabha yesterday, Paswan shot back, “what other option does he have now?” “People have given the NDA such a huge mandate. There is nothing like a magic wand and Congress should wait for at least one year to see if the government fulfils people’s expectations. By entering the Well and making allegations, one cannot influence the people,” he said.

Rejecting Rahul Gandhi’s allegation targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi that only one man’s voice was heard, Paswan said, “Does Modi speak to the media? He speaks through his work. National interest is more important than an individual.”

“Modi will remain Prime Minister for at least 10 to 15 years,” he said.

The Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister also said the prices of essential commodities would stabilise in a month or two and that it was for the state governments to keep hoarders under check.

“The Centre has already decided to amend the Essential Commodities Act to make hoarding a non-bailable offence and increasing punishment from a term of six months to a year. APMC markets would also be done away with and replaced by a common national market,” he said.      -PTI

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