Patna: LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said he had no regrets over returning to the NDA fold after 12 years and was driven to it by the "reticent approach" of RJD and Congress and signs of revolt within his own party.
"I did my best to work out an alliance with RJD and bring Congress on board, but the two parties wanted to drag seat- sharing talks over an indefinite period. "That left me with no option but to clinch a pre-poll tie- up with the BJP-led NDA," he said at his first press conference here after joining NDA.
Paswan said he had apprehensions that Congress and RJD wanted to delay seat-sharing talks beyond the announcement of the parliamentary poll schedule, which has been proved true. "I was apprehensive that they (Congress and RJD) would offer us only a couple of seats at the last minute, which we would have been forced to accept as there would have been no other option for us... Accepting an offer of a couple of seats would have been insulting for us and humiliating to our party," he said.
Paswan had quit NDA 12 years back over the 2002 Gujarat riots. He said that although he personally favoured an alliance with Congress and RJD, his party cadre were getting restive with the attitude of the two parties which were refusing to acknowledge even the existence of LJP. It was the revolt brewing within Lok Janshakti Party over aligning with Congress and RJD on their terms that had tilted the scales in favour of an alliance with NDA, he said.
Paswan claimed that BJP initially wooed him with an offer of 12 seats but, in the end, his party agreed to the final offer of seven seats, including Hajipur (SC), from where he is to contest the Lok Sabha polls, and Jamui (SC), where his son Chirag would make his electoral debut. Dismissing charges that he had done a "political somersault" by joining NDA for survival and to safeguard the political future of his son, Paswan said that had it been so, he would have accepted the offer to become the chief minister in 2005 after the Assembly polls in February of that year had thrown up a hung Assembly....