About two dozen sitting MLAs are likely to quit the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituents ahead of the October-November election in Bihar.
Four sitting JD(U) legislators, who rebelled against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, had joined the BJP on Wednesday. They include Dinesh Kushwaha, a former minister, and Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, a onetime right-hand man of the Bihar CM.
“About two dozen legislators have wanted to join the BJP and may join in near future. Some issues are to be looked into before they are inducted,” a party leader said.
The joining of many rival MLAs is also stuck because many of them want to contest the next poll but there is a still not a clarity about which seats the BJP would contest and which would go to alliance partners.
In luring these MLAs, the BJP not only intends to add some muscles to its election plans but also wants to create buzz about the loyalists deserting Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad just ahead of the polls.
“We hope that rival MLAs joining the BJP would drive home that point that we are the front runners in the election. That message comes with the inherent advantage of wooing what is called the floating voters,” a BJP leader in Delhi explained.
These MLAs also come in handy to the BJP on those seats where it did not contest election in the last 17 years when it was in alliance with the JD(U).
While the BJP used to contest in only 102 of 243 seats, it is on a lookout for winnable candidates this time for the seats where it would field its candidates for the first time.
The BJP is expected to field 150-plus candidate, but the contours of the seat sharing agreement with the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan, Rashritya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) of Union minister Upendra Kushwaha and Hindustani Awami Morcha (HAM) of former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi is yet to be finalised.