New Delhi: The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will not fight the upcoming Bihar assembly elections with the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but will go solo. Attacking Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the LJP announced that it would fight JD(U) candidates in the elections. However, it maintained that it will not contest against candidates of the saffron party. Also Read - Watch: Slippers Hurled at RJD Leader Tejashwi Yadav at Bihar Election Rally
While making its resentment clear with the JD(U), the LJP went to great lengths to highlight its strong ties with the BJP, asserting in a statement that it wants the saffron party to head the future government in the state and its MLAs will work towards this goal. In a meeting, the LJP also passed a resolution in favour of an alliance with the BJP, and said its MLAs will work to strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also Read - 'I Apologise... Just Forgot the Name': Kamal Nath Explains 'Item' Jibe After Controversy, EC Takes Note
The LJP’s decision, at a meeting of its Parliamentary Board, to quit the NDA alliance in the state came despite outreach efforts by the BJP’s top leadership, particularly assigned by party President J.P. Nadda and a meeting between Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Nadda and LJP chief Chirag Paswan. Also Read - 'Citizenship Amendment Act Will be Implemented Soon': BJP President JP Nadda in West Bengal
“Due to ideological differences with the JD(U), a member of the alliance at the national level and in the assembly polls, the Lok Janshakti Party has decided to fight the elections in Bihar separately from the alliance,” a statement by LJP said. “We will triumph,” was the brief comment of Chirag Paswan as he sported a victory sign after the meeting.
However, the LJP is likely to continue as the member of the NDA at the Centre as of now, more so as its patron and the only member in the Modi government, Ram Vilas Paswan, has undergone a heart surgery in the national capital and will remain hospitalised for a few weeks.
The LJP’s decision has thrown open new possibilities in the Bihar polls as the party may end up damaging the JD(U)’s prospects at several seats.
The opposition alliance of the RJD, Congress and the Left may receive a boost with the development.
BJP likely to announce 1st Bihar list with 50+ names today
The BJP’s Central Election Committee (CEC), which decides who gets to fight the polls and from which constituency, concluded its meeting late on Sunday after finalising names for almost all candidates for the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections on the seats over which ally JD-U has not staked its claim.
The list, which is said to have over 50 names, is expected to be announced on Monday.
The CEC meeting, which was attended by PM Modi, party President J.P. Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, among others, also deliberated upon names and weighed in strengths and weaknesses of probables list sent by the state unit for the second phase.
While the BJP may announce a bulk of names for Phase 1 and even some for Phase 2 on Monday, sources say it will leave out a few constituencies that are slated to go for polls on the first phase on October 28, given the Janata Dal-United’s claim to them.
Sources suggest an agreement was immediately reached with the JD-U on seat sharing after the LJP dropped out of the alliance in the state. While one senior Bihar BJP functionary claimed that Nitish Kumar’s JD-U will be fighting on 124 seats and the BJP 119, another source in Delhi hints at an agreement of 50-50 seat sharing where the JD-U will be given a symbolic extra seat.
However, no official confirmation of either arrangement has been made public so far by the BJP or the JD-U.
The Bihar assembly polls will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7, and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.
In 2015, the LJP had contested 42 seats and won two. The JD(U) was then part of the opposition alliance which decisively defeated the NDA.
(With agency inputs)