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Bihar Assembly election | LJP to go it alone, but backs Narendra Modi

Chirag Paswan.  

It is almost certain that the Lok Janshakti Party will contest 143 seats outside the NDA alliance with the slogan “Modi se bair nahi, Nitish teri khair nahi,” which roughly translates to “No enmity with Modi but won’t spare [Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president] Nitish Kumar.”

LJP president Chirag Paswan met with BJP president J.P. Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday. It is a friendly alliance, with the BJP offering not to contest in the seats that will fall into its kitty. The LJP has also given the BJP an assurance that in the post-poll scenario, it will back the BJP’s candidate for the Chief Minister’s post. A formal announcement is likely to be made over the weekend.

Senior LJP leader said that his party was in alliance with the NDA at the national level and it was not a State-level alliance. Technically, therefore, his party is not formally walking out of the NDA. With party patriarch Ramvilas Paswan seriously ill and undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital, his resignation from the Cabinet post is completely ruled out.

BJP proxy

Practically, the LJP will work as the BJP’s proxy. “In the 2015 elections, the BJP had contested on 157 seats; with the JD(U) wishing to play the big brother in the alliance, they will get fewer than 120 seats, so there will be 37 candidates of the BJP who will have nowhere to go but find space with us,” a senior LJP leader said.

To counter the JD(U)’s candidates, the LJP, a Dalit outfit, is likely to field the so-called upper caste candidates, according to its strategist. The whole idea is to mop up the anti-Nitish and pro-Modi votes, on the JD(U) seats. The whole campaign of the party will also be pro-BJP and anti-Nitish.

The LJP has proposed this as a win-win situation for both the BJP and the party. The BJP gets to accommodate its candidates, albeit under the LJP symbol, while the LJP will be able to increase its profile manifold.

In the 2015 Assembly election, fighting on 42 seats, the LJP got only 4.83% of total vote share and won only two seats. Its best performance was 29 seats in 2005. “When we contest 143 seats, our vote share will naturally go up. We won’t be a 5% party any more,” another LJP leader added.

The LJP is also presenting it as a fait accompli, considering the division of seats would leave them with a measly 20-25 odd seats. “We do not really have an option here. This is a far lower tally than what we are ready to settle for. And thankfully, we have been working over a year and have serious candidates for all the 143 seats,” the leader added.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:02:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-assembly-election-ljp-to-go-it-alone-but-backs-narendra-modi/article32751042.ece

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