Lone Lok Janshakti Party MLA Raj Kumar Singh joins JD(U) in Bihar
In another setback to the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), its only member of legislative assembly in Bihar, Raj Kumar Singh, joined the Janata Dal United JD(U) on Tuesday in presence of chief minister Nitish Kumar. Earlier in February, the party’s only member of legislative council (MLC), Nutan Singh joined the BJP. Now, the LJP has no representation left in the state legislature.
Raj Kumar Singh, an MLA from Matihani constituency in Begusarai district, was served a show cause notice by the LJP last month for voting in favour of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the post of deputy Speaker.
The switch comes in the backdrop of the assembly campaign in the run up to November 2020 assembly elections, which saw the LJP continuously target the JD(U) and chief minister Nitish Kumar, while being friendly to the BJP, which was in alliance with the JD(U) in the state. Though the LJP only won a single seat, the party’s 143 candidates badly hurt JD(U) candidates’ prospects on many seats, analysts say.
Chirag Paswan-led LJP has seen heavy defection with over 200 party leaders and office bearers joining the JD(U) recently. Singh first sparked speculations of jumping the ship to the JD(U), following his meeting with the chief minister and a state minister last month.
The LJP was founded in the year 2000 by former Union minister and Dalit icon Ram Vilas Paswan, who died on October 8, 2020 ahead of assembly elections in Bihar. Under senior Paswan, the party won 29 assembly seats in the 2005 Bihar assembly polls and emerged as a major force in the state. However, it saw a continuous decline ever since as its number of MLAs came down to 10 a few months later in 2006, when elections were held again in the state. In 2010 elections, the party could only win 3 seats. Later, in 2014 general elections, it won 6 of the 7 Lok Sabha seats it contested in alliance with the BJP. However, in assembly elections held a year later, it could only win two seats.