Won’t let BJP treat us in this manner, says Chirag Paswan

LJP president says party may go it alone in Jharkhand

November 11, 2019 09:08 pm | Updated November 12, 2019 06:38 pm IST - New Delhi

NEW DELHI, 27/07/2018: Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan addressing a press conference at his residence in New Delhi on July 27, 2018.  
Photo by Shiv Kumar Pushpakar / The Hindu

NEW DELHI, 27/07/2018: Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan addressing a press conference at his residence in New Delhi on July 27, 2018. Photo by Shiv Kumar Pushpakar / The Hindu

The Lok Janshakti Party, a key constituent of the NDA, is likely to go it alone in the Jharkhand Assembly election as the BJP is yet to respond to its demand for six seats. The LJP may contest in 37 seats.

The LJP made public its dissatisfaction on a day when the BJP lost its oldest ally, the Shiv Sena.

“Yes, I wanted to contest in Jharkhand with the BJP. It has been over five weeks that I wrote letters to BJP president Amit Shah, working president J.P. Nadda and Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, listing the six seats we want to contest. These six seats were the ones where the BJP had performed badly in the previous elections,” Chirag Paswan, the newly appointed president of the LJP, told The Hindu . Mr. Paswan said he was willing to compromise and his party would have been ready to bring the number down to 2 to 3.

The LJP acted after the BJP released its first list of 52 candidates on Sunday. Among these 52 seats are those demanded by the LJP, including Jarmundi, Panki and Latehar. In the 2014 Assembly election, the BJP had given the LJP a token seat, Sikaripara, where it did not even have a candidate. Finally, a BJP candidate fought on the LJP symbol.

‘Inconsequential seats’

“I got an indication from the BJP that this time they want to repeat what they did in 2014. They want to give us a few inconsequential seats where we have no presence or even candidate. This time, the LJP is not ready for this kind of treatment,” Mr. Paswan said. The party’s State unit was also eager to go it alone, he said.

The LJP has not spoken to the BJP after it released the first list. On Saturday, Mr. Paswan met Om Mathur, the BJP’s in-charge for Jharkhand, but did not get any assurance.

“This happens too often. In an alliance, it is necessary for them to give the allies clarity. I have repeatedly told this to the BJP. If you delay your decision, it affects the performance of the alliance too. They are meting out a similar treatment to the All Jharkhand Students Union Party (AJSUP),” Mr. Paswan said. The seat-sharing arrangement between the AJSUP and the BJP has not been announced yet.

Mr. Paswan lauded the Shiv Sena for walking out of its alliance with the BJP. “The Shiv Sena stood by whatever it said right from day one... It has the right to exit the NDA for its future,” he said.

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