Bihar elections: LJP to contest against all JD(U) candidates but still ‘support BJP’

At the LJP parliamentary board meeting, the party passed a resolution in favour of an alliance with the BJP and said its MLAs would work to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chirag Paswan

Amid bickering between LJP and JD(U) in recent months, the Chirag Paswan-headed party will go alone in the upcoming elections but still “support the BJP”. Sources said the party will contest against all JD(U) candidates in the three-phase elections. LJP leaders cited the example of Manipur, where they were they remained alliance partners at the centre but had “friendly fights” and it’s MLAs backed BJP.

“Lok Janshakti Party will not contest the upcoming Bihar elections in alliance with Janata Dal (United) due to ideological differences,” ANI quoted Abdul Khaliq, LJP national general secretary, as saying.

At the LJP parliamentary board meeting, the party passed a resolution in favour of an alliance with the BJP and said its MLAs would work to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“After assembly elections in Bihar, LJP and BJP will form govt in Bihar, following the path of development led by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the party said. According to a Patna-based LJP leader, the party has the strength to get 6 to 12 per cent votes, which could spoil the game for JD(U).

With LJP going solo, a source told The Indian Express that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JDU) and BJP are likely to evenly split the number of seats they would be contesting. The two allies will contest 119 seats each and give five seats to Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, MoS MHA Nityanand Rai, and BJP’s in-charge for Bihar Bhupender Yadav along with Home Minister Amit Shah today held a meeting at BJP chief JP Nadda’s residence to decide the future course of action.

The relationship between JD(U) and LJP had nosedived in the subsequent months, with the LJP chief taking potshots at the JD(U) government over its handling of Covid-19 and the migrants crisis that followed the lockdown. Chirag, who has been under pressure from his party leaders to go it alone in 143 constituencies, met BJP President J P Nadda for the second time this week. The BJP had reportedly offered 27 seats, including several Muslim-dominated constituencies, to the LJP.

On Saturday, the Opposition announced its seat formula with RJD being given 144 seats and Congress 70. Besides, a total of 29 seats have been allocated to three Left parties—CPI-ML (19), CPI (6), CPM (4)—to contest. The RJD was said to be unwilling to give the Congress more than 60 seats, but eventually reconciled to 70 seats since it ostensibly did not want to let another ally go after RLSP and HAM(S) left Grand Alliance in the last two months over seat-sharing. Besides, the Congress has been RJD’s most trusted ally.

At present, JD(U) has 71 MLAs and BJP has 53 legislators. In the 2010 Assembly elections, the JD(U) and BJP had contested on 141 and 102 seats, respectively.

The Bihar assembly elections would be held in three phases on October 28, November 3, and November 7, with the counting day on November 10.

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