The NDA in Bihar comprises BJP, JD(U), LJP and HAM.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has authorised party chief Chirag Paswan to take a final call on alliance ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections. Chirag is the son of former LJP president and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. According to a report in The Indian Express, the party has decided to put up a list of 143 names for the elections.
The decision was taken at the LJP’s Bihar Parliamentary board meeting. It was at this meeting that the party authorised Chirag to take a final call on whether to contest the elections under Nitish Kumar’s leadership.
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Nitish Kumar heads the Janata Dal (United) which has been in power since 2005. The JD(U) and BJP have jointly ruled the state for the last 15 years, barring a period of 2013 to 2017. The LJP had joined the BJP-led NDA after Nitish’s exit from the alliance ahead of the 2014 general elections. When Nitish returned to the NDA after a dramatic turn of events in 2017, the LJP automatically became a ruling constituents.
“A resolution was also passed giving powers to Chirag Paswan to decide on the future course of action – whether to stay in an alliance (with JD-U, among other NDA members, in Bihar),” MLA Raju Tiwari and president of the party’s state Parliamentary board said in a note after the meeting.
The note also spoke about the two decisions — the first decision was to select 143 candidates and forward that list to the Parliamentary board; and second one was a demand to contest the election without the JD(U) and to put up candidates against it.
Chirag has been critical of Nitish for the past few months. He has been vocal against him over several issues including the handling of Covid-19 situation, migrants exodus and floods. Chirag had earlier admitted that he had no words with Nitish for over a year.
While Chirag has been attacking the JD(U), his party has been praising the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The LJP president has said that he wants to continue in an alliance with the BJP.
According to the IE report, a senior LJP leader said that before the meeting, a phone call was received from a senior national BJP leader.
“We would like the LJP to fight within the alliance. In close fights, LJP contesting against JD(U) will only harm the alliance on the ground,” the daily quoted a senior BJP leader from Bihar as saying.
The NDA in Bihar comprises BJP, JD(U), LJP and HAM. The alliance will face the grand alliance of opposition parties comprising RJD, Congress, RLSP and VIP.
The state will go to polls in October-November later this year.