NAGPUR, Maharashtra: The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), led by Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan, announced on Sunday that it would contest the upcoming Bihar election on its own. The decision does not come as a surprise—since the beginning of this year, Chirag has dropped enough hints that he wasn’t happy with the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United).
Chirag’s body language after announcing the split suggests that the Dalit leader’s decision was a tactical move.
“It’s a day of great rejoicing for the party,” an upbeat Chirag told reporters after announcing his party’s decision in Delhi. He also met his uncle and Lok Sabha MP Pashupati Paras to seek his blessings. In Patna, LJP workers celebrated their leader’s move and raised the slogans “Modi Se Bair Nahin Par Nitish Ki Khair Nahi” (We don’t hate Modi but Nitish will not be spared) and “Bihar first Bihari first”.
As political observers have been expecting, the LJP leader spared the BJP from any criticism, making it clear that the party’s quarrel is only with the JD(U) and Nitish. Its press statement announcing the decision said it is firmly with the BJP at the centre and even in Bihar and will field candidates only against the JD(U). The party is also open to a possible post-poll tie-up with the BJP after the election, signalling that the drama in Bihar will not end on 10 November, when the election result will be announced.
An LJP leader based in Patna termed Chirag’s move a calculated one and said there was no confusion behind the move.
“Chirag has made it clear that he will form the government with the BJP post-election. Are you not aware of BJP’s anxiety with Nitish Kumar in Bihar and the way Nitish treated BJP in the past, be it his opposition to Narendra Modi being projected as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate or his siding with the RJD to pass a unanimous resolution against NRC (in the budget session of Bihar assembly earlier this year)? See, in...