LJP in or out of NDA in Bihar? Speculations mount after Chirag Paswan’s tweet

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 3

Amid reports that LJP president Chirag Paswan is “consulting” his father, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan before officially announcing the party’s decision to contest outside the NDA in Bihar, speculations of a multi-corner contest in the poll-bound state are now becoming stronger.  

The LJP, which is meeting today to take the final call on whether to go with the NDA or strike alone on 143 seats in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Bihar, has “deferred it for some time” as Chirag Paswan had to “rush to the hospital to see his ailing father”.

However, before doing that he posted his picture with Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he said he took inspiration from the PM and hoped that he would give blessing to his efforts to make ‘Bihar first and Bihari first’ “so that all his candidates can strengthen the hands of the Prime Minister”.

“I am proud that I got an opportunity to work as an MP with a Prime Minister whose skillful leadership is known across the World. Taking inspiration from PM Modi, the Lok Janshakti Party prepared the ‘Bihar First, Bihari First Vision Document 2020’ with the suggestion of four lakh Biharis so that Bihar and Bihari can be brought to the forefront. I not only hope but believe that you (PM Modi) will give your blessings to bring Bihar at the forefront and help return its lost identity and glory so that all my candidates can strengthen the hands of respected Prime Minister,” he wrote in a post on the social media.

Notably, this is the last meeting of the Parliamentary Board of the LJP which wants to contest 143 seats in the forthcoming elections. 

Chirag Paswan, who recently flagged with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda LJP’s issues and differences with JD-U supremo and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is also believed to have told them about the pressure from within his party to contest at least 143 seats in the polls to the 243-member Bihar Assembly.

The LJP has said it will contest 143 seats if it does not get an “honourable” deal within the NDA. At the same time it also assured to not contest against the BJP.

In the 2015 Assembly elections, the LJP contested 42 seats and won two. The JD(U) was then with the opposition alliance. 

According to reports there are posters in Patna with the slogan “Modi se bair nahi, Nitish teri khair nahi” (No issues with Modi, but Nitish you are done with). 

It is not just the question of number the party is demanding but also the quality of seats. Interestingly, LJP leaders, who have claimed that the party will not fight on seats which the BJP will fight, also promise to back a BJP CM in the post-poll scenario. 

Sources in the LJP say it is the right time to  project Chirag Paswan as the leader in the state “where  Nitish Kumar is fighting his last elections and there is also a leadership vacuum”. This is the best time to expand the LJP because of Nitish Kumar’s anti-incumbency, they add.

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