Patna: Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Ram Vilas Paswan, who was sworn in as Food and Civil Supplies Minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet last week, is likely to be appointed a Rajya Sabha member from Bihar.
Earlier, there was speculation that Paswan may be accommodated as Rajya Sabha member from Assam, where the ruling BJP has a majority in the 126-member Assembly.
Paswan, who did not contest the Lok Sabha election in 2019 from his bastion Hajipur, owing to his health issues, had reluctantly given his nod to be sent to Upper House from another state.
But Lady-luck smiled on the LJP chief as there is now a vacancy in the Rajya Sabha from Bihar as senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has given up his Rajya Sabha membership following his victory in the Lok Sabha election from Patna Sahib.
“This was Ravi Shankar Prasad’s fourth term in the Rajya Sabha. He has already spent the first year of his latest tenure. For the remaining five years of the RS term, notification will be issued afresh. Paswan may fit the bill as an NDA nominee representing LJP,” a senior NDA functionary told DH.
This suits Paswan too, as he will be more comfortable entering the Upper House from his home state, where Assembly elections are due in 2020.
Besides, of late, he has been in a fire-fighting mode dousing flames after sparks flew following Nitish’s refusal to allow the JD(U) to be part of the Narendra Modi government.
“There is no disunity or tension in the NDA.
“Nitish is our leader in Bihar and will remain so even in future,” said Paswan, in his bid to placate the Bihar chief minister, who is believed to be miffed with the top BJP leadership over offer of just one ministerial berth in the Union Cabinet as ‘symbolic representation.’
Nitish on Sunday expanded his Cabinet but gave no berth to either the LJP or the BJP, the two alliance partners.