The entry of Lok Janshakti Party as an independent contestant in the Bihar Assembly elections may spoil the party for the ruling Janata Dal-United, an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
The JD-U, which was the ‘big brother’ for the NDA in the past, is now faced with the embarassing situation wherein its leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s pictures are not even there on BJP advertisements in newspapers ahead of elections, giving rise to a lot of speculations.
Even surveys done by various agencies in Bihar have allegedly revealed that Nitish’s popularity among the voters has gone down.
However, BJP state President Sanjay Jaiswal maintains that the BJP-led NDA is fighting the elections under the leadership of Nitish Kumar only, who is the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.
On the other hand, JD-U leader Ajay Alok maintains that many ‘yuvraj’ or political heirs were in the fray to save their political careers and the situation will be clear on November 10 when the results are declared.
Irrespective of what NDA allies may say, the situation for the JD-U began to worsen after LJP leader Chirag Paswan moved away from the NDA in Bihar to show his independence by voicing difference of opinions on the implementation of various schemes in Bihar or the working of the state bureaucracy.
The LJP’s independent stance was showcased in the very beginning when the JD-U wrote to the Election Commission of India to hold the Bihar Assembly elections as scheduled while the LJP wanted the same to be postponed in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
The LJP fielded candidates in 136 of the 243 constituencies, though the nominations of its nominees in Makhdoompur and Phulwari were rejected. Most of these 134 nominees are now pitted against the JD-U even as others are facing BJP rivals in Gobindganj, Lalganj, Bhagalpur, Raghopur, Rosara, and Narkatiyaganj.
LJP spokesperson Ashraf Ansari said that while Gobindganj and Lalganj have sitting MLAs from his party, there is a ‘friendly match’ with the BJP in other seats. He claimed that the LJP will form the next government in Bihar along with the BJP.
Chirag Paswan too has been appealing to the voters to vote for the BJP in Assembly segments in which his party is not in the fray.
It is being said that the LJP wishes to bag at least 10-15 seats by taking advantage of the Narandra Modi factor in the Assembly elections and will play an important role in the formation of any future government if the JD-U and BJP failed to bag a simple majority of 122 seats on their own.
In the NDA, the JD-U is fighting 115 seats, BJP 110 seats, Vikassheel Insaan Party 11 and Hindustani Awam Morcha seven seats.
The elections for 243 Assembly seats will be held in three phases – for 71 seats on October 28, for 94 seats on November 3, and remaining 78 on November 7. The results will be announced on November 10.