Parties like Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP will cease to be politically relevant in Bihar if they stay in alliance with the BJP as there is “discontent” among backward classes, Congress leader in-charge of the state Shaktisinh Gohil said today.
Gohil, also a party spokesperson, said “winnability” will be the main criteria for seat sharing among ‘grand alliance’ parties in Bihar and opposition unity there will show the way for cooperation in other states.
He said that in Bihar, NDA constituents Janata Dal (United), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) which primarily draw their support from people belonging to backward classes, are likely to quit the alliance before the Lok Sabha polls.
“There is a loud and clear message in Bihar that the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is against the SCs, STs, backward and most backward classes. All those in alliance with the BJP, be it Nitish Kumar ji, Paswan ji, Kushwaha ji, they all seek support of people belonging to these sections, so how will they stay with the BJP,” he told PTI here.
“I don’t think these parties will stay with the NDA and if they stay, the BJP will just lose, but they will cease to be politically relevant,” he said.
Gohil said that the best law for the SCs and STs was the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act that was brought by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the NDA government committed the “sin” of diluting it.
The judge who gave two judgements against the SCs and STs was given a big post in the National Green Tribunal after retirement by the government, he said, referring to the appointment of AK Goel as NGT chairman.
“Not going by what we are saying or the RJD is saying, for their own sake, they will have to get out of the alliance with the BJP,” Gohil said of NDA alliance partners in Bihar.
Asked if opposition’s doors are open for Kumar, Paswan and Kushwaha, he said, “I would not like to answer a hypothetical question, I will only react if such a situation arises.”
Dalit groups under the banner of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM) have given a call for Bharat bandh on August 9 against the dilution of the Act.
A bill to overturn the Supreme Court order, which had laid down certain safeguards in the SC/ST law to prevent atrocities against people of scheduled castes and tribes, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
This is being seen as a move by the NDA government to reach out to Dalits.
LJP and Kushwaha had made statements expressing their concerns over issues related to SCs and STs and seemed to be on a collision course with the government.
However, the LJP has since softened its stand following the tabling of the bill with LJP leader and MP Chirag Paswan saying that the proposed Bharat bandh should be called off as the Centre has decided to bring an amendment to restore the law.
Gohil said the tabling of the bill was a late move by the BJP as it was under pressure from some of its allies and MPs. He said there was still “discontent” among the backward classes.
Asked if ‘mahagathbandhan’ coalition partners comprising the RJD, the Congress, the NCP, the Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha), the Left and Sharad Yadav will be able to arrive at a seat-sharing agreement, he said they will have no difficulty in doing so as the alliance was ideological.
“Congress has always done ideology-based politics and not indulged in ‘power politics’ like the BJP. The BJP side steps ideology when it wants to grab power. In J&K they abused the PDP repeatedly and then aligned with them… when the BJP saw it was hurting it nationally, then without informing its ally, it made the government fall,” Gohil alleged.
“We will have no difficulty in seat sharing with these parties, and if tomorrow any party of the same ideological commitment wants to be part of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ (then with them as well). Winnability will be the criteria. We will sit together and do it,” he said.
On Nitish Kumar, he said, “He is now with BJP. Ideologically they are east and west… people of Bihar are suffering.”
Talking about opposition unity, Gohil said it was also people’s demand.
“People are feeling cheated.They want the opposition to be united. They want the jumla government to go. Our unity in Bihar will show the way in other places,” he said.
He also accused the BJP of not treating its alliance partners well and making them fight among themselves.
“BJP is always on the lookout to finish allies and become strong at their expense,” he claimed.