Bihar Elections 2020: Amid deadlock, Chirag Paswan’s LJP says no seat-sharing talks with BJP yet

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Updated: Sep 30, 2020 4:31 PM

Bihar Elections 2020: The BJP is in a tight spot as it has to deal with two ambitious partners, while the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) wants to maintain its dominant position in the alliance by fighting more number of seats even if it is just one.

LJP president Chirag Paswan

 

Bihar Election 2020: The Bharatiya Janata Party has not held any official dialogue with the Lok Janshakti Party over seat-sharing for the Bihar Assembly elections, even as the filing of nomination for the first phase of polling begins from Thursday. The LJP, among the smallest constituents in terms of seats and vote percentage in the NDA, is yet to get a call from the BJP. Contrary to some reports suggesting the BJP has offered 27 seats, LJP National Vice President AK Vajpayee told FinancialExpress.com that his party is yet to receive any formal offer from the Bharatiya Janata Party. “The talks have not started yet. The talks will begin once we get a call from the BJP. Whatever is in the media is based on sources. As of today, we haven’t received any formal offer from the BJP,” Vajpayee said while speaking to Financialexpress.com.

The BJP is in a tight spot as it has to deal with two ambitious partners, while the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) wants to maintain its dominant position in the alliance by fighting more number of seats even if it is just one. The LJP under Chirag Paswan, on the other hand, does not want to settle for less than what it has so far managed to achieve in Bihar. In the last election, the LJP contested 42 seats but could manage to win just 2 with 0.82 per cent votes. However, the LJP is hoping to get the same number of seats this time too, which could be a little difficult as last time the JD(U) was not part of NDA and the BJP had the luxury of offering it the maximum number of seats.

LJP’s Vajpayee says that there are certain factors like ‘winnability’. “We know our limitations but bigger parties should also know theirs. We have 6 MPs and it works out to 42 assembly seats. We would like to stick to what we had contested in 2015,” the LJP leader adds. When told about the presence of the JD(U) in NDA unlike the previous elections, Vajpayee says: “Let’s see what happens…wait and watch.” On the possibility of going alone, the LJP leader says it all depends on Chirag Paswan after the talks.

Chirag Paswan, son of union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, has been trying to expand the party’s footprint in Bihar. While the results in Lok Sabha elections have been encouraging, the assembly elections outcome has not been on expected lines for the LJP. In 2019, LJP won all seats it contested but in assembly polls the number was 2 out of 42. Maybe this is the reason Chirag is a little hesitant in snapping ties with NDA as yet. However, Chirag appears to be preparing for a solo fight in future aiming to play a bigger role – and that is why his name has been projected for the chief ministerial face for Bihar by his party.

The BJP reportedly wants to contest an equal number of seats with JDU. But reports suggest that Chirag recently suggested in a meeting with JP Nadda that the BJP should get more number of seats. Chirag and Nitish do not see eye to eye and the rift between both the parties have been growing for the last few months. The rift started after Chirag and his father Ram Vilas Paswan attacked Nitish Kumar in May this year for not sharing the food beneficiary list.

Since then, Chirag has continued his attack on Nitish Kumar. Some say Chirag is preparing ground to launch himself as a serious alternative as BJP’s Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi does not have the appeal to attract voters from across the sections on his own and Tejashwi Yadav is not acceptable CM face even to his own allies.

In 2015, the BJP had contested on 157 seats but could win only 53. Nitish’s JDU, on the other hand, had contested with RJD on 101 seats and won 71. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD had emerged as the single largest party by winning 80 of 101 seats.

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