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RSS chief’s quota remark, Dadri led to NDA defeat, says BJP Ally Ram Vilas Paswan

Patna: Analysing defeat of NDA in Bihar, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comments suggesting a review of reservation as well as lynching of a Muslim in Dadri were the game changers. “Both of these issues were used by our adversaries to the hilt, leading to fear among voters, which rejected the BJP’s alliance in favour of the Grand Alliance led by Nitish Kumar in the assembly elections.”

Ram Vilas Paswan

Also, Paswan said, including some 20 castes in the scheduled castes list ahead of elections also helped Nitish Kumnar. But, he said, the extent of support to the Grand Alliance was unexpected, as he had expected a close call.

The LJP, while blaming the reservation remarks of the RSS chief, however, said that he might have spoken it in different context. “The RSS is an independent organisation… but in the context it spoke, it created a backward-forward divide and led to fear among the voters,” he said. “The PM clarified, everyone else also clarified… but it’s true that it spread fear and the opposition exploited it,” he said, admitting that the NDA failed to convince backward castes that benefit from reservations.

Lok Janshakti Party, which draws its core support from backward castes who benefit from affirmative action, contested 40 seats in the Bihar assembly elections. It won just two. Just a year ago, it had won six of the seven parliamentary seats it contested in the national elections.

The BJP’s four-party alliance managed to win only 58 of Bihar’s 243 assembly seats. Nitish Kumar-led ‘Grand Alliance’ won 178, a two-thirds majority. Paswan also said, “The defeat is not the responsibility of one individual… all the PM’s rallies were very well attended. Amit Shah strengthened the organisation, I saw it. All allies were in it together.”

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