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Paswan may find the going tough with Digvijay Singh
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi June 28
LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan will come under increasing pressure in the coming days to align with secular forces in the coming Bihar Assembly elections, failing which his position in the UPA government could become untenable.

Unlike the last time when Mr Paswan had to deal with friendly Congress leaders like HRD minister Arjun Singh and M.L. Fotedar in the pre-election seat-sharing negotiations, he is going to find it far tougher to do business with AICC general-secretary Digivjay Singh, who has been given charge of Bihar this time round.

Although Mr Singh is all praise for Mr Paswan and his secular credentials, he has made it known that the LJP leader will not be able to persist with his “no truck with RJD or BJP” policy and will have to decide where the stands vis-a-vis the UPA. Mr Singh also clarified that unlike the last time, the Congress policy on alliances will have “more clarity” in this election.

Hinting that the LJP leader might have to forsake his membership of the UPA if his stand remains unchanged, Mr Singh remarked, “I fail to understand the logic of Mr Paswan’s stand...it is just not viable,” adding that Mr Paswan will have to choose between secular and communal forces as elections are all about ideology and not personalities.

Mr Singh, who is known to be close to Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, said it will be his endeavour to see that secular forces present a united front in the coming Bihar polls, for which Mr Paswan and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav will have to sink their differences. “After all, the two leaders did contest the last Lok Sabha elections together. If Mr Paswan has no objection to sitting with Mr Yadav in the Cabinet, why should he not be ready for an electoral tie-up this time,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh has yet to initiate any dialogue with Mr Paswan or Mr Yadav, saying he has sought appointments with both the UPA partners. In addition, he will also hold discussions with Mr Arjun Singh and Mr Fotedar.

The AICC General-Secretary also had a swipe at his bete noire, Mr Arjun Singh, who pushed for partial seat-sharing arrangement with both the RJD and the LJP, a strategy that backfired on the Congress. “We had a peculiar arrangement last time..we had a tie-up with both the RJD and the LJP. This cannot work because the electorate has to be clear on what we stand for,” he remarked. Stating that there was no clarity in the Congress approach last time, he reiterated that there will be no confusion this time, clearly indicating that the Congress will not abandon Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and it will left to Mr Paswan will be pressured to join the secular front.

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