More than 200 mid-level and lower-rung leaders of Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party joined the JD(U) in Bihar on Thursday.
A rattled LJP, which has been taking pride in having weakened the JD(U) in the assembly election, lashed out at the deserters whom it sought to dismiss as traitors.
JD(U) national president RCP Singh announced at a press conference the induction of 208 leaders from the LJP.
Some of them held state-level posts in the party, founded by late Ram Vilas Paswan and now headed by his son.
Most notable among the turncoats is former state general secretary Keshav Singh who has been in revolt against Chirag Paswan and predicting the party’s collapse for some time.
Shortly afterwards, a press conference was hurriedly convened by the LJP which was addressed by party MP Chandan Kumar Singh and former MLA Raju Tiwari.
“These so-called leaders are traitors who had helped the JD(U) in the assembly elections and betrayed our party’s agenda of Bihar First, Bihari First,” they said indignantly.
Relations had begun to sour between the JD(U) and the LJP last year when Chirag Paswan had started criticising Nitish Kumar for his government’s handling of COVID-19 and the migrant crisis thrown up by the lockdown.
Ahead of the elections, he pulled out of the NDA, vowing to dislodge Nitish Kumar from power but helping the BJP form the next government. The LJP queered the pitch for the JD(U) by fielding its candidates, many of them rebels from the BJP, against the chief minister’s party.
It, however, came a cropper and managed to win only one seat. One of the prominent BJP rebels fielded by it, Rameshwar Chaurasia, quit the party on Wednesday.