175 LJP functionaries join BJP; party disowns turncoats
- A senior LJP leader, who quit the party, said the LJP was reduced to a drawing room organisation where even old party workers didn’t have access to Chirag Paswan.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by Chirag Paswan suffered another jolt with a large number of party functionaries — majority being panchayat presidents — deserting the party and joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, even as a rattled LJP disowned them. The latest setback follows the desertion of party’s lone member of the Bihar Legislative Council (MLC), Nutan Singh, to the BJP.
“No, they are not our leaders. Some of them were thrown out of the party months ago, there are many who are not even the primary members,” said Raju Tiwari, executive chairman, LJP, claiming the desertion ‘was blown out of proportion.’
Tiwari claimed that some deserters were followers of former LJP state general secretary Vishwanath Prasad Kushwaha, who joined the BJP. “He has been out of our party fold for the past many months. If a few people join the BJP under his leadership, it should not be seen as a split in our party,” said Tiwari.
BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal welcomed the switch. “As many as 175 leaders, ranging from state to district and block level office bearers, besides panchayat presidents of the LJP chose to join the BJP. We welcome them in our party,” Jaiswal said.
Former LJP state general secretary Vishwanath Prasad Kushwaha, state general secretary Dalit Sena, former district president Shyamnand Prasad and district secretary Birju Thakur among others joined the BJP in presence of state president Sanjay Jaiswal here.
“Some of us had resigned last year as we were feeling suffocated in the LJP. The party is reduced to a drawing room organisation, where even old party workers don’t have access to Chirag Paswan. Hence, they preferred to join the BJP” said Vishwanath Prasad Kushawaha, ex-member Bihar state executive committee and in-charge Sitamarhi district affairs.
The desertions have gathered pace LJP following the party’s dismal showing in Bihar Assembly elections last year, when it could win only one seat.
On February 22, Nutan Singh, wife of Bihar minister and BJP MLA Neeraj Kumar Singh, and the lone LJP MLC joined the BJP, preceded by more than 200 mid-level and lower-rung leaders who joined the Janata Dal United or the JD(U) in Bihar.
“We have been associated with Ram Vilasji for about 37 years. But Chirag is totally inaccessible to the old party workers. There is no respect for the workers in the party and hence the circumstances forced us to resign in November last year. But nothing was done to keep the old leaders in the party,” said Premchand Hazra, ex-West Champaran district general secretary.