Bihar Assembly elections 2020: LJP chief Chirag Paswan has asked his BJP counterpar JP Nadda to contest more seats than the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar.
Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan. The LJP is a constituent of the NDA.
Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan has urged the Bharatiya Janata Party to contest more seats than the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar in the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar. According to a report in The Indian Express, Chirag met BJP national president JP Nadda on Tuesday night where the discussion is believed to have taken place. Bihar will go to polls in October-November later this year.
Chirag on Wednesday apprised his party MPs about his meeting with Nadda. He chaired a meeting of the party MPs in Delhi last evening to discuss the further course of action regarding its role in the NDA. This was the second meeting of the LJP within a month as its ties with the JD(U) continues to simmer.
Chirag, the son of LJP’s founder Ram Vilas Paswan, has been vocal against Nitish’s leadership for sometime. The party has authorised him to take a final call on whether to contest in an alliance. The party has already passed a resolution to field 143 candidates. Earlier, LJP had said that it will field candidates against the JD(U), evoking a sharp reaction from NDA’s new entrant Jitan Ram Manjhi who heads the Hindustani Awam Morcha.
Citing sources, the IE report said that Chirag has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, informing him of the political situation in the state, and the ostensible anti-incumbency against Nitish Kumar.
LJP’s general secretary Abdul Khaliq said they will discuss a vision document of “Bihar First, Bihari First” at the next meeting. “The party has authorised Chirag Paswan to take a final decision on NDA alliance at the LJP central Parliamentary board meet, which would take place after our next meeting,” Abdul told IE.
After Wednesday’s meeting, the LJP in a statement said that Chirag Paswan congratulated all members about steps taken by PM Modi for Bihar. “He informed about a meeting with the national president of BJP late last night, as well as a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the statement confirmed.
Although Chirag has been questioning Nitish Kumar on many fronts, he has refrained from commenting on the BJP. A senior leader told The Indian Express that Chirag Paswan reiterated the ground situation to the BJP president, about anti-incumbency against the Chief Minister and said that in the current climate JD(U) should compromise on seats. “This was also the crux of his letter to the PM,” the leader said.
A resolution was also passed on Wednesday welcoming a comment from JD(U) leader KC Tyagi that his party has no alliance with LJP. Speaking to the daily, Tyagi said that whatever Chirag Paswan is saying is against the basic spirit of coalition. “We have perfect understanding with BJP. I still maintain that we never had an alliance with LJP. It is just poll posturing,” he said.
The NDA in Bihar comprises four parties — JD(U), BJP, LJP and HAM. The JD(U) and BJP have jointly ruled the state for the last 15 years, barring a period of 2013 to 2017.
Meanwhile, Nadda met Nitish Kumar in Patna last week to discuss seat sharing for the polls. Notably, the JD(U) played the role of a senior partner in 2005 and 2010 elections. This time as well, the party wants to be a senior partner, but the BJP is trying to get an equal share. The elections in 2020 will be different from the past elections as the alliance has two more constituents — LJP and HAM. Accommodating Paswan and Manjhi would be a tough task for the senior partners. Both the LJP and HAM are led by Dalits who comprise 16% of the state’s nearly 10 crore electorate. Losing any of them will result in division of votes.
In 2005, the JD(U) contested from 139 seats and the BJP entered the fray from 102 seats. In 2010, JD(U) had got 141 seats while the BJP 102. In 2015, the JD(U) had contested elections in an alliance with the RJD and Congress. The NDA comprised BJP, LJP and HAM. In the 2019 general elections, the BJP and JD(U) contested from 17 seats each and the remaining six went to the LJP.