Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan (centre) with other party leaders at his Delhi residence on October 4.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan (centre) with other party leaders at his Delhi residence on October 4.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Bihar Assembly Election 2020: LJP move to go solo could prove to be a double-edged sword

In several constituencies in the 243-member Bihar assembly, both the NDA and the LJP will seek votes in the name of Modi
By Arun Kumar | Hindustan Times, Patna
PUBLISHED ON OCT 05, 2020 12:58 PM IST

Politics has taken centrestage in poll-bound Bihar, which is grappling with the twin challenges of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and floods along with the usual social ills such as poverty, illiteracy and backwardness.

The voters are blindfolded about the electoral choices before them.

Political observers feel the prevailing confusion in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ranks following the ally Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) move to break the alliance is fraught with risks.

On surface, it appears the LJP’s move may benefit the BJP.

They said the minor ally’s bid to go solo in the upcoming three-phase assembly polls could work both ways and the post-poll scenario might have a lot of bearing on the ultimate outcome.

Also Read: BJP and JDU agree to a 50-50 seat sharing for Bihar polls

The election will be a departure from the past because of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation. The campaigning will largely be a digital affair and that may confuse the voters even further.

Until a week ago, the ruling NDA government in Bihar was tipped to go to polls under the leadership of chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send a clear message to the LJP, a recalcitrant ally.

But, there has been a lot of political fluidity over the past week and Kumar’s leadership has come under a cloud.

In several constituencies in the 243-member Bihar assembly, both the NDA and the LJP will seek votes in the name of Modi, much to the confusion among voters.

Can the Grand Alliance (GA), comprising the main opposition the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the Left parties, take advantage of the chaos in the NDA’s ranks remain open-ended?

Also Read: Political expediency changing faces of electoral alliances in Bihar

Social analyst Shaibal Gupta said the developments appeared “a part of a concerted design to marginalise Kumar in the political firmament of Bihar.

“I think the revolt of Chirag Paswan (of the LJP) is not spontaneous. In some ways, it looks a sponsored agenda to marginalise Kumar. I think this is the game plan, which will hurt the Janata Dal (United), but will benefit the BJP to further strengthen its position.”

DM Diwakar, a former director of AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies, said: “The LJP’s strategy was to hurt the JD(U) and Kumar. The LJP could be successful, as it appears to be working in tandem with the BJP. There is a clear indication because the BJP has also not tried to stop the LJP from doing what it has done. If Dalit votes fragment and BJP’s committed support go to the LJP, then the JD(U) will find the going tough in those seats, where there is a distinct possibility of a triangular contest.”

Nawal Kishore CHoudhary, a political analyst and former head of the department of economics, Patna University (PU), said Kumar has no challenger, despite the posturings by Chirag or Tejaswhi Yadav of the RJD.

He cited that governance would be the third key issue after caste and religion in the poll-bound state.

“Leadership and governance will continue to give advantage to Kumar, as people will not buy Chirag’s theory. If the BJP is behind Chirag’s designs, it can be a risky proposition. Chirag is a young man in a hurry to be a CM candidate. He wants to follow the example of the likes of Uddhav Thackeray, Madhu Koda and HD Kumaraswamy as the CM or HD Deve Gowda as the PM, who had all benefited from political fluidity . But tactics don’t always work. Perhaps, he could have gained by consolidating the LJP’s position,” he added.

Professor Ajay K Jha, another political analyst, said the emerging situation could help the BJP further consolidate its position, as it could contest in more seats because it has fewer allies to accommodate.

“The LJP is all for the BJP, but is averse to Kumar. This could lead to new alignments in a post-poll scenario,” he added.

Bihar will go to polls on October 28, November 3 and 7.

The results will be declared on November 10.

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