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Will Paswan, Nitish join hands?

By Our Staff Correspondent

— Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar at an iftar party hosted by the Minister in Patna on Monday.

PATNA, NOV. 8. Will the Union Steel Minister and the Lok Janshakti Party chief, Ram Vilas Paswan, and the former Railway Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader, Nitish Kumar, join hands in a bid to take on the Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Lalu Prasad, in the coming Assembly elections?

This question was uppermost in the political circles soon after Mr. Kumar came in to attend an Iftar party hosted by Mr. Paswan here today.

Mr. Kumar has been openly advocating need for a broad alliance under the leadership of Mr. Paswan and he renewed it yesterday. Though Mr. Paswan said that functions such as Iftar were meant to unite people and he had invited everyone,including all the MPs from the State, including Mr. Prasad, who, however, was conspicuous by his absence.Mr. Paswan had sought to skip Mr. Prasad's Iftar party yesterday.

Even before Mr. Kumar's arrival, Mr. Paswan had made it clearthat he would have no truck with the JD(U) till it severed its ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party. His poll strategy was to provide an alternative to the minorities in the State.

The two leaders hugged each other.

For secular forces

Mr. Paswan ruled out the possibility ofquitting the United Progressive Alliance, saying that it would send the wrong signal that he intended to oppose the secular forces. Mr. Kumar had, in vain, tried to convince the JD(U) to sever ties with the BJP and strive for a secular image. However, the JD(U) chief, George Fernandes, apparently prevailed to decide oncloser ties with the BJP.

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