Former Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan on Saturday predicted a "historic win" for the BJP in the by-poll to Kurhani assembly segment of Bihar, claiming that rival JD(U) will be pulled down by the "growing unpopularity" of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Paswan, who has begun to cosy up to the BJP since it was dumped by Kumar in August, was campaigning in Kurhani along with the saffron party's Ravi Kishan, a Bhojpuri star who is also the MP from Gorakhpur in adjoining Uttar Pradesh.
"The massive crowd here is indicative of the popular sentiment against Nitish Kumar. The Chirag factor, a name not given by me but the top leaders of the JD(U), had relegated the party to the third position in the assembly polls. Growing unpopularity of the party's de facto leader will hit the JD(U) badly", said Paswan.
The Jamui MP, who headed the party founded by his late father Ram Vilas Paswan until it was split by his rebellious uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, alleged that Dalits were facing atrocities under the rule of Nitish Kumar whom he also criticized for joining hands with the RJD.
"He came to power in 2005 railing against the so-called jungle raj. Now he has joined hands with the very party which he used to blame for lawlessness", said Paswan, who also sought to drive a wedge between Kumar and Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, the RJD heir apparent.
"Tejashwi is a young man and like my younger brother. He has committed a huge mistake by aligning with the unpopular CM. He must revise his strategy before it is too late", said Paswan, whom the RJD had tried to woo after the LJP was split and when Kumar was still with the NDA.
Ravi Kishan, who was with Paswan at a roadshow and also at a rally in support of the BJP candidate Kedar Gupta, parodied one of his famous Bhojpuri one-liners to allege that Nitish Kumar had turned "arrogant".
"Zindagi jhand ba, Nitish babu ke kaun baat ke ghamand ba (people's lives are in a mess. But Nitish remains haughty)", said Kishan who also appealed to voters to punish the JD(U) for its "betrayal" of the BJP.
-With PTI Input