Hours before the death of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday, a letter written by Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan to BJP national J.P. Nadda reached the public domain, in which he alleges that his father was insulted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over a Rajya Sabha seat election.
In his letter to Nadda, written on September 24, Chirag said, "During the seat-sharing deal for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with then BJP chief Amit Shah, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and my father, where I was also present, it was decided that one Rajya Sabha seat will go to LJP. But Nitish Kumar insulted my father during the Rajya Sabha election and clearly said no to support the candidacy of Ram Vilas Paswan," he said.
Chirag further alleged that the announcement of Ram Vilas Paswan's candidacy was done by none other than Amit Shah in the presence of Nitish Kumar.
Chirag said that before filing the nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha seat, Paswan was made to visit Nitish Kumar at his residence. "But there his (Nitish Kumar's) behaviour with my father wasn't good. And despite a number of requests, Nitish Kumar did not accompany Ram Vilas Paswan to the Bihar Assembly for filing the nomination," he said.
Nitish reached the Bihar Assembly after the timing of the nomination was over, due to which LJP supporters are angry with him, said Chirag.
In his letter, Chirag further emphasised that despite the insult meted out to his father, his party workers and he never attacked Nitish Kumar and kept on observing the rules of the alliance.
He further pointed out that during a press conference in Bihar on September 24, when reporters asked Nitish Kumar about the health of Ram Vilas Paswan, he said that he had no knowledge of his health.
"It was quiet shocking for me as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, despite being busy during the day, called me twice to enquire about the health of my father. President Ram Nath Kovind has enquired about his health, and even Union Home Minister Amit Shah, being unwell, enquired about the health of my father and assured me of every help," he said.
He also said that even the leaders of several opposition parties keeping aside party politics enquired about the health of his father."The statement of the Chief Minister is not only insensitive but also regrettable. Due to such actions of Nitish Kumar, supporters of Ram Vilas Paswan across the country are angry with him," he claimed in his letter.
Chirag even said that during the nationwide lockdown, PM Modi himself called him thrice and enquired about his well-being, he also took suggestions to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. "But Nitish Kumar never spoke to us despite me calling him on a number of occasions," he claimed.
The letter was shared with the media on Thursday afternoon, hours before the death of the Union Minister at a private hospital in Delhi. This will the first election in 50 years, when Ram Vilas Paswan, who completed 50 years in public life in 2019, will not be in the electoral fray.
His mortal remains were flown to Patna on Friday. He was cremated at the city's Janardan Ghat on Saturday with full State honours.
Several political leaders including Tejashwi Yadav and Pappu Yadav met Chirag at his residence on Friday night after paying their last respects to Ram Vilas Paswan.
On Sunday, the LJP decided to go solo in the Bihar assembly elections. It has decided to contest on 143 seats and field candidates against JD-U candidates in the state.
Now political observers are waiting to see whether the death of Ram Vilas Paswan will turn the tables for the LJP in the Bihar assembly elections.
The LJP has been criticising Nitish Kumar over the handling of Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of migrant workers, the floods issue and the issue of unemployment.
Bihar will go to polls in three phases -- October 28, November 3 and 7. Counting of votes will take place on November 10.