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Upper caste MLAs desert Paswan

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | May 21, 2005 17:45 IST

As the Ramvilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party faced an imminent split on Saturday, it turned out that the challenge to Paswan's authority had come from the party's upper caste MLAs.

According to information made available to this correspondent, 16 upper caste LJP MLAs were camping at a plush holiday resort in Jamshedpur, looked after by rival Janata Dal-United leaders.

Also see: Paswan's LJP on the brink of a split

Upper caste MLAs in Paswan's camp had always favoured a tie-up with the JD-U and outside NDA support to form government in Bihar. Paswan, however, stuck to his non-Bharatiya Janata Party, non-Rashtriya Janata Dal model and suffered for it.

Of the LJP's 29 MLAs, 16 are from upper castes -- nine Bhumihars and 7 Rajputs.

A senior LJP leader told that this time Paswan would not succeed in keeping his flock together because most of the upper caste MLAs have made up mind their mind to support a JD-U government led by Nitish Kumar.

Also see: Rebels don't have the numbers -- Paswan

Sources said JD-U and BJP leaders are in constant touch doing the numbers. The BJP, in all likelyhood, would support the government from outside.

Nitish Kumar, meanwhile, has gone on record saying he would meet the governor and stake claim as soon as numbers add up.

LJP MLA Munna Shukla, sources said, has been assigned the task of wooing some backward caste MLAs.

Although Paswan has denied his party is facing the threat of a split, the resignation of party's general secretary, Nagmani, early in the day must have come as a jolt to him.

Nagmani told TV news channels that Nitish Kumar will be the next chief minister of Bihar.

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