Pervez Musharraf dragged into fight between Ram Vilas Paswan and Nitish Kumar
Patna: As the political scene hots up, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has been dragged into the fight between LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The spark for the confrontation ahead of the Lok Sabha elections came when Kumar raised questions on Paswan’s return to the BJP-led NDA and his lavish praise of Narendra Modi 12 years after quitting the alliance over the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.
A day after Kumar targeted him, Paswan today rubbished the JD(U) leader’s insinuation that he had taken pride when he was asked by Musharraf during an interaction with the President as to whether he was the leader who resigned from the Union Cabinet over the Gujarat riots.
Quizzed by reporters during his maiden press conference in Patna since returning to the NDA, Paswan said he had merely answered in the affirmative when the erstwhile Pakistan leader made the inquiry.
“After giving my introduction when General Musharraf asked me if I am the leader who had resigned over 2002 Gujarat riots I said yes. What wrong did I do?” he asked.
Paswan was part of the delegation of Indian MPs which visited Pakistan in 2003 and which included RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Attacking Paswan for praising the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, Kumar yesterday asked if he was not the same leader who had introduced himself to Musharraf as the one who left NDA over the 2002 riots.
“A person who missed no chance to criticise Narendra Modi after walking out of NDA is today lavishly praising him,” he had said.
Paswan, who shared the dais with Modi at a rally at Muzaffarpur on Monday, had described him as ‘vikas purush’ (development man) and ‘future Prime Minister of the country’ and criticised Kumar.
On Kumar challenging him to divulge the ‘truth’ behind his quitting NDA – whether it was on the question of change of his ministerial portfolio or Gujarat riots, Paswan asked if it was greed that guided him then why did he turn down the offer of chief ministership of Bihar to him twice by NDA.
The LJP chief, who was accompanied by his son Chirag, came down heavily on Kumar and Prasad, saying, “I am not like them (Kumar and Prasad), who call somebody good for two days and assail them as bad in no time… However, they are my friends and will remain so,” he added.