Chirag Paswan meets Nitish

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Patna, Jul 7 (PTI) Union Minister Chirag Paswan on Friday called on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in what appears to be a fresh show of solidarity by the two NDA partners who have buried past differences.

Paswan, who heads the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), presented a bouquet of flowers to Kumar, the septuagenarian JD(U) president, upon reaching the CM's residence and touched his feet while taking leave of him.

Photographs and video clips of the meeting were shared by the party of the Hajipur MP, who has redeemed himself politically by winning the pocket borough of his late father Ram Vilas Paswan and ensuring the victory of all other candidates fighting on the ticket of what was till recently considered just a splinter group of the deceased leader's LJP split by younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras.

"It was my first meeting with the honourable chief minister since my induction into the Union cabinet," Paswan wrote on X, adding that the senior leader also assured him that his concerns on a range of issues, including several recent incidents of bridge collapse, would be squarely addressed.

Sources in the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) also said Paswan assured Kumar full support in the by-poll to the Rupauli assembly seat scheduled on Wednesday, which has become a prestige issue for the JD(U).

The by-poll was necessitated by the resignation of sitting MLA Bima Bharti, who won the seat for JD(U) several times but quit to contest Lok Sabha elections on an RJD ticket.

She lost her deposit in the parliamentary poll and is now again in the fray for the by-poll as an RJD candidate.

Kumar, who has been lashing out at Bharti during the by-poll campaign, has given the JD(U) ticket to Kamladhar Prasad Mandal, a relatively low-key social worker who is banking upon a clean personal image, in contrast with Bharti whose family members are allegedly involved in several criminal cases.

However, the JD(U) also needs support from its allies to win the poll.

Many state BJP leaders have canvassed for Mandal. Paswan is scheduled to address a rally on Sunday when he is likely to be accompanied by fellow Union minister Jitan Ram Manjhi who heads Hindustani Awam Morcha.

The campaign by Paswan and Manjhi is expected to shore up adequate support of Dalits in favour of the JD(U) candidate. PTI NAC BDC

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