PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's bete noire Chirag Paswan on Friday smelt a rat in the numerous meetings the former has had in recent times with Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of the opposition, and said a "political vote face" was definitely possible in the state.
The former Lok Janshakti Party president, who now stands isolated in the party floated by his late father Ram Vilas Paswan, was responding to queries from journalists about Kumar's meeting with Yadav earlier this week on the caste census issue.
"Were the discussions (at the meeting) about caste census or about ways to ensure Kumar's continuance in power for as long as he pleases," wondered Paswan, who has been, for quite some time, predicting the JD(U) leader's yet another break-up with ally BJP.
He was bewildered over the CM sparing "so much of time" for Yadav, a former deputy CM whose alleged involvement in a money laundering case had caused Kumar, who is known to be conscious of his personal image, to snap ties with the RJD.
"Just the other day the chief minister had travelled on foot to attend an Iftar hosted by the RJD," pointed out Paswan, who incidentally was also one of the attendees and got photographed touching Kumar's feet out of "personal respect".
The young leader, who is struggling to find his feet since the demise of his father, made it clear that he was in full support of the demand for a caste census.
"The point is, the CM's ally, which rules the Centre, has made it clear that it will not conduct a caste census. If the CM is intent on a state-specific exercise, who is stopping him? It is hard to believe that the talks (with Tejashwi) were on the issue. Kumar must be trying to strike a deal for continuing in chair," said Paswan.
To a pointed query as to whether he saw a possibility of Kumar realigning with RJD, headed by Yadav's father Lalu Prasad, Paswan said "why not? The chief minister's thirst for power has led to many a political volte-face.
One more is definitely possible".
He also charged Kumar, the longest-serving chief minister of the state, with having squandered the opportunity for development he had after returning to the NDA.
"Bihar has always suffered because of political dissonance between the Centre and the state. Since his realignment with the BJP in 2017, he had a tremendous opportunity at his hand to usher in rapid progress. But his sole priority has been to be in his chair", alleged Paswan.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)