Ballot dynamics could change with Ram Vilas Paswan’s dying


Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 9

The death of ‘Dalit’ leader Ram Vilas Paswan has added another angle to the Bihar poll dynamics, political watchers say.

With the Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) fighting independently this time, the general mood is that the tragedy may help the party consolidate its core votes.

A sizeable number of LJP candidates are seen as “proxy” BJP candidates. It remains to be seen if the sympathy factor will be strong enough to overcome the anti-incumbency against the Nitish Kumar-led government of which the BJP is also a part. If this happens, the LJP may land votes of other castes, much to the chagrin of the Mahagathbandhan.

President Ram Nath Kovind pays tribute to LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan in New Delhi. PTI

Leaders agree the passing away of Paswan has introduced an element of uncertainty to

the already-complicated poll matrix. A section also believes that voters have “become cynical” and the death is unlikely to sway the “average Bihari voter who is more politically intelligent than an average Indian voter”. Besides the “death of tall leaders sway sentiments,” said a senior BJP leader.

While the goodwill Paswan earned in his more than five-decade-long political career is expected to rub off on his political heir Chirag Paswan (depending upon his ability to make the connect), for some, his ‘Bihar first, Bihari first’ slogan is “somewhat divisive and reeks of over-ambition”, especially when in the last Assembly elections, the LJP barely managed to win two seats while his father was very much around.

This is why many observers say more than causing any real gain to the BJP or Chirag, the death may play heavy on prospects of the Nitish Kumar-led JD-U. Engaged in an open feud with the JD-U, Chirag, in his letter to BJP president JP Nadda, accused Kumar of “insulting” his father and talked of “wave of disaffection” against him among voters.

Prez, Prime Minister pay tribute

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan at his residence on Friday. Senior BJP leaders, including Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Giriraj Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajnath Singh, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, also paid their last respects.

Goyal gets addl charge of Food Ministry

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was on Friday given the additional charge of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry, a portfolio held by the late Ram Vilas Paswan. A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said the President, on the PM’s advice, directed that Goyal be assigned the ministry.

Irreparable loss

The country has lost one of the greatest Dalit and socialist leaders in Ram Vilas Paswan. — Manmohan Singh, Ex- PM

Paswan raised voice for the most marginalised sections of society and left a lasting imprint on politics and public service in both Bihar and the country. — Rahul Gandhi, Cong Leader



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