Bihar election news: LJP president Chirag Paswan has been critical of Nitish Kumar over his handling of the migrant crisis. He said that who will be NDA's face in Bihar assembly polls is something for the BJP to decide.
Bihar Assembly election 2020: Days before BJP leader Amit Shah addresses a virtual rally in Bihar, broadly seen as the launch of the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) poll campaign, a key NDA constituent has a message for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Hinting at his party’s unease with Nitish, Lok Janshakti Party national president Chirag Paswan has said that he will back the BJP if it opts for a change of face in the Bihar assembly polls. The state will go to polls in October-November this year.
“Who will be the face, who will be the leader of the alliance is something that its largest constituent BJP has to decide. The LJP is strongly with the BJP in whatever decision it takes. If they (BJP) want to go ahead with Nitish Kumar ji, we are with them, if they want to have a change of mind… whatever decision the BJP takes, we will support,” Chirag, who represents the Jamui parliamentary seat, told PTI.
Chirag has been critical of Nitish Kumar over his handling of the migrant crisis. He had earlier underscored his dissatisfaction and noted that it “could have been better”.
Asked about the Bihar government’s handling of the migrant crisis, he said, “Deaths of many labourers on their way to home could have been probably avoided” and acknowledged that there is anger against the government among lakhs of migrants who have returned from different parts of the country.
Chirag Paswan, however, exuded confidence that the NDA will come back to power in Bihar with a huge mandate. He said the RJD-led opposition is not in a position to challenge the ruling dispensation.
“It will win more than 225 of 242 seats in the assembly,” he claimed.
The BJP has already declared Nitish Kumar, also the president of Janata Dal (United), as the chief ministerial face of the ruling NDA in Bihar more than a year ago. BJP president JP Nadda, who visited Patna in February 2020, had also asserted that the NDA under the leadership of Nitish Kumar will definitely win the polls.
However, a section of leaders within the ruling alliance, especially the BJP, have been expressing their reservation against Nitish’s leadership.
Although Chirag Paswan did not make any direct demand about a change of leadership, his remarks are significant.
On Sunday, when Shah addresses a virtual rally, he is likely to make an important announcement to put all the speculations to rest over CM’s face for the Assembly polls. Shah is likely to re-emphasise that Nitish will be the face of the alliance of the three parties in Bihar.
The NDA comprises BJP, JD(U) and LJP in Bihar. The alliance had won 39 of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.
The BJP has been sharing power with Nitish Kumar in Bihar since 2005, barring a four-year gap from 2013-17. While Nitish will seek a fourth consecutive win, it will be a do or die battle for the RJD which heads a coalition comprising RLSP, HAM and Congress. The opposition alliance is led by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi.