Bihar Election 2020: Chirag is the son of LJP founder and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. He has dropped hints that the party could enter the election alone if a situation arises.
Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan has asserted that the ‘nature of alliance’ in Bihar is changing, an apparent threat to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as pressure tactics gain momentum in Bihar ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled for later this year. Seat-sharing has been a contentious issue in Bihar on either side of the political divide and Chirag, whose father Ram Vilas Paswan is a Union minister in the Modi cabinet, is in no mood to be left short-changed.
Addressing the party workers via video-conferencing, Chirag asked his party workers to be prepared for any eventuality, a clear indication of the message he was sending to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who faces an uphill task this election.
Chirag’s remarks gave triggered murmurs about a rift in the ruling NDA which comprises Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar, Bharatiya Janata Party and LJP. The JD(U) and BJP have been ruling in the state since 2005, barring the 2013-17 period. The LJP joined the Nitish Kumar government only after his return to the NDA fold after a dramatic turn of events in July 2017.
Chirag is the son of LJP founder and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. He took over as the national president of the LJP in November 2019. A Lok Sabha MP from Jamui, Chirag also dropped hints that the party could enter the election alone if a situation arises.
In the 243-member Legislative Assembly, the LJP has only two MLAs and has no representation in Nitish’s Cabinet. In 2017, Pashupati Paras brother of Ram Vilas was inducted into Nitish Kumar cabinet but had to resign after he won the Lok Sabha elections from Hajipur in 2019.
Several media reports also suggest that the seat-sharing formula among the NDA partners is believed to be the trigger behind Chirag toeing a different line. The LJP wants 42 seats but the BJP and JD(U) are offering only 30-35 seats, they said.
Chirag has also been upset with CM Nitish Kumar and has been vocal against him for the last few weeks over the handling of migrants and the law and order situation.
Bihar, which is scheduled to go to polls in October-November this year, is likely to see a tough contest between the ruling NDA headed by Nitish Kumar and the grand alliance comprising RJD, Congress, JAM, RLSP and VIP. The opposition alliance is led by Tejashwi Yadav, the son of jailed RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. While Nitish will seek a fourth consecutive victory, it will be a do or die battle for the RJD which is facing a leadership crisis following the conviction of Lalu in multiple fodder scam cases in December 2017.
Reacting to the remarks by Chirag, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said all is not well in the ruling NDA.
“Chirag Paswan has questioned the functioning of Nitish Kumar on multiple occasions and now he has shown the mirror to the Bihar government. Nitish Kumar is not ready to tolerate them and the LJP is feeling sidelined. Nitish Kumar wants LJP to be ousted and wants to give them less number of seats. Chirag Paswan’s anger is genuine and Chirag will be the reason for the collapse of the NDA,” he said.