Chirag Paswan's LJP to contest all seats in crucial Bengal polls
- Other regional parties like the JMM, JD(U), the RJD, among others have also decided to contest the polls either in alliance or on their own.
Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janashakti Party will contest all seats in the crucial West Bengal assembly polls, party leaders have said.
“The LJP would be contesting on all seats in the coming West Bengal assembly polls. Both the Bharatiya Janata Pary and the Trinamool Congress are our rivals. We are not going into an alliance and will contest the polls as an individual party,” said Mira Chakraborty, the party’s state president.
Founded by late Ram Vilas Paswan, and presently led by his son Chirag Paswan, the LJP had even contested 135 seats during the Bihar assembly elections in 2020.
Even though it managed to win only one seat, it secured around 10 per cent of the votes, giving a blow to Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United).
The BJP and the TMC are however not giving any importance to the LJP saying that the party is struggling for its existence in Bihar.
“The LJP has become irrelevant now. It is struggling to prove its existence in Bihar. Who knows them in West Bengal? The state’s ruling party is roping in various parties to confuse the people,” said Samik Bhattacharya, state BJP spokesperson.
“It is a democracy. Any political party may contest the polls from anywhere. But in Bengal, people only know Mamata Banerjee as the face of development,” said Partha Chatterjee, minister and a veteran TMC leader.
Other regional parties like the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), Shiv Sena have also decided to contest the polls either in alliance or on their own.
Psephologist Biswanath Chakraborty, who is also a professor of political science at Rabindra Bharati University, said the regional parties are not likely to have any impact on the vote share in the upcoming Bengal polls. "They won't be able to win any seat and may at the most get some an insignificant portion of the vote share in some seats. But it won't affect anything," he said.
The BJP, which had made deep inroads in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has set a target to win more than 200 seats this time.
West Bengal has a sizeable number of voters from Bihar with most of them living in south Bengal districts including Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and Howrah. The entry of regional parties from the Hindis-peaking heartland may create a split in the state’s Hindi-speaking voters.