Patna, Nov 28 (PTI) Apparently taking a cue from fellow NDA ally JD(U), headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Lok Janshakti Party on Thursday asserted its ties with the BJP-led coalition was 'limited' to the state and it was looking forward to expanding its national footprint by contesting assembly polls in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal.
At a function organised here to celebrate the partys foundation day, Chirag Paswan the new LJP president and son of de facto leader Ram Vilas Paswan however insisted that the ambitions must not be construed as a disaffection with the NDA.
He asserted 'our ties with the BJP are stronger than ever.. we are committed to working together and helping Nitish Kumar return as the Chief Minister next year'.
The party has launched a membership drive through which it aims at raising the strength of the organization to one crore.
'Bihar would of course be our main focus. But the leaders of our state units elsewhere have also come here and I tell them that the central leadership is fully with them wherever they find themselves in a position to fight assembly polls', Chirag Paswan said.
'States like Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal these are scheduled to witness assembly polls. Our leaders in these states should explore the possibilities.
'If they wish to take the electoral plunge, they would be backed in their endeavour by the parliamentary board', the Jamui MP, whose decision to go it alone in the Jharkhand assembly polls had raised many eyebrows, said.
He, however, sought to make it clear that the LJP acknowledged the role played by 'Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi in pulling Bihar out of the era of lawlessness.. when we approach the assembly polls next year we will ensure victory of not only our candidates in the seats LJP seeks to fight, but also help our alliance partners to win their seats'.
'However, we must keep working towards expanding our base.
Today we have six MPs. Just visualize the clout we would enjoy if our tally increases to sixty', said Paswan at the function.
His father Ram Vilas Paswan,cousin and state president Prince Raj and uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras who headed the state unit before becoming an MP from the founding leaders pocket borough Hajipur were among those present on the occasion.
The young LJP leaders stance resembles that of the JD(U), an NDA ally for more than two decades, which has contested against BJP in states like Arunachal Pradesh where it is the main opposition party while the saffron party is in power besides Gujarat, Karnataka and Haryana and expressed the willingness to do the same in Delhi.
Nitish Kumar, who has been the partys de facto leader since inception and holding the national presidents post for the past few years has maintained that while the JD(U)s ties with the BJP were intact, the alliance was limited to Bihar and both parties should be free to chart their independent course in other states.
Moreover, in the wake of the revolt by the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, speculations have been rife that the BJPs allies stifled by the near hegemonic status it has come to occupy in the countrys politics may start flexing muscles and demand a greater share in power.
Addressing the function, Ram Vilas Paswan exulted over 'the finesse with which Chirag has made his point, no wonder his speaking skills have won praise from none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself'.
Reacting to the charge of dynasty politics levelled at his party, elder Paswan said 'be it Chirag, Prince or Paras, all of them have proven their mettle in the arena of electoral politics and they owe their position to their caliber'.
Defending his decision to pass on the mantle to his son, Paswan said 'every father should be proud of his sons accomplishments.
'I cannot understand why H D Deve Gowda is not letting go at the ripe age of 93, why Mulayam Singh Yadav put so many hurdles in the way of Akhilesh Yadav and why Lalu Prasad is dithering when all he has to do is choose his successor from amongst Tej Pratap Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and Misa Bharti'. PTI NAC SNS SNS