Bihar

Bihar Assembly election | Our prime focus was to make BJP emerge stronger, says Chirag Paswan

LJP chief Chirag Paswan addresses a press conference, at the party office in Patna, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan on Wednesday said the party was happy with the impact it had made in the election. He said his party would not ‘support’ the government headed by Nitish Kumar.

Also read: No kingmaker, but LJP dented JD(U)

The LJP, which had put up candidates to defeat the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), won just one seat, Matihani in Begusarai district by a thin margin of 333 votes, but it affected the prospects of the NDA alliance partner JD(U) in nearly 20 seats.

“We wanted the BJP to emerge stronger from the election and we’re happy with the impact our party made in the poll…but, yes like other parties, we too wanted to win as many seats as we could, but our prime focus was to make the BJP emerge stronger,” Mr. Paswan told media persons in Patna, adding that the vote share of his party had seen an increase.

Mr. Paswan, 37, said, he has “nothing personal” against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar but, “yes, there have been ideological differences between us”. He also said “Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister is not good for the State and that there is no question of supporting a government headed by him [Mr. Kumar]”. “Of course, the NDA comprising the BJP, the JD(U) and two smaller parties have the numbers and does not need our support to form the government.”

Comment | The mandate was about Nitish

While campaigning, Mr. Paswan had repeatedly said, “After poll, there will be BJP and LJP government” and “Nitish Kumar will not be the Chief Minister again”.

The LJP leader, who had raised a banner of revolt against Mr. Kumar, also said the “NDA won the poll in Bihar because of PM Narendra Modi”.

“If anybody deserves to be congratulated on the NDA’s victory in Bihar, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People have reposed their trust in his leadership and his vision for ‘Atmanirbhar’ [self-reliant] Bihar…we always wanted to see a government headed by the BJP and supported by the LJP. But we respect the mandate given by the people.”

He also ruled out any possibility of joining hands with the Opposition mahagathbandhan comprising the RJD, the Congress and three Left parties.

The JD(U) got only 43 seats against the 71 it won in the 2015 Assembly election. However, the alliance partner BJP increased its tally from 53 to 74 to emerge as the senior partner of the NDA. But, would his role in Bihar poll mar the party’s prospect in the NDA alliance at the Centre? Mr. Paswan said, “What we did is not without precedent.”

Earlier, senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in their public meetings, had repeatedly said the “NDA in Bihar means only the BJP, the JD(U), the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and the Vikasheel Insaan Party.”

“The LJP is no longer part of the NDA,” said State BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal.

Senior State BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday blamed the LJP for reducing the majority of the NDA. “The LJP had spoiled our wining prospects in over 25 seats,” he said and asserted, “Nitish Kumar will remain the Chief Minister .... that was our commitment.”

The LJP's winning seat was incorrectly mentioned as Manihari. It has been corrected

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 2:02:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar-assembly/bihar-assembly-election-we-are-happy-with-ljps-poll-impact-says-chirag-paswan/article33073944.ece

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