LJP decides to go solo in Bihar, will remain in NDA at Centre
New Delhi, October 4, 2020
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) on Sunday announced it will not fight the October-November Bihar Assembly polls under the leadership of Chief Minister and JD-U supremo Nitish Kumar, and will go solo.
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.
"At the state level and for ideological differences with the Janata Dal-United in the Bihar poll alliance, the Lok Janshakti Party has decided to fight the elections in Bihar outside the alliance," the resolution passed by its Parliamentary Board, stated.
In a clear announcement that it was taking arms against the JD-U, the LJP said: "In many seats, there may be ideological fights with the JD-U where the public can decide which representative will keep Bihar's good in mind."
However, the LJP has been very careful to indicate that its relation with the BJP at the Centre will stay unaltered, and also assured a "post-poll alliance" with the BJP to "uphold the developmental agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi".
However, there was no mention of the JD-U there, while the LJP went on to stress that it had "no hard feelings" with the BJP.
This meeting was called at 3 p.m. amid concerns over the health of party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan, whose ailments had led to postponement of the meeting till Sunday. Earlier Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chirag Paswan to inquire about the elder Paswan's health condition.
In a cause of mounting concern for the NDA, animosity between the LJP and the JD-U had been growing for quite some time and matters came to such a stage that, in late June, a district president of the LJP who had said that the NDA was intact in Bihar was sacked. A series of verbal fights between the JD-U and the LJP followed, and could not be quelled despite intervention at the level of Amit Shah and Nadda.
Now, in Bihar, the BJP and JD-U will go to polls in an alliance with the Hindustan Awami Morcha-Secular to be accommodated by the JD-U from its share of seats. However, a situation where the alliance fails to win the required number of seats to form government, and needs the LJP's help is one that the NDA alliance is hoping to avoid.
Polling in the three-phase Bihar election will be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7. Counting of votes will be held on November 10.