JD(U) snubs LJP says alliance in Bihar is with BJP, NDA rift widens
Bihar assembly elections are likely to be held later this year.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 21:19 IST
Ahead of high stakes Bihar assembly election, NDA camp seems to be in a disarray with junior partner LJP adopting a confrontationist stance against the lead partner JD (U), much to the delight of the five -party Opposition grouping, the Grand Alliance, in the state.
The widening rift between the allies was again on display with the JDU snubbing LJP-- following its national president Chirag Paswan’s assertion that his party was ready to contest on all 243 assembly seats and his demand for a common minimum programme—by saying that party’s “alliance in Bihar is only with BJP.”
In a way, the JD(U) has left the burden of dealing with a sulking LJP, with the BJP.
“We have perfect understanding with the BJP on all issues, be it seat-sharing, campaigning or leadership. In fact, our relationship with the BJP is more than 15 years old. But we have never contested assembly elections along with the LJP except for the Lok Sabha polls. We don’t have any alliance with the LJP in Bihar,” said JD (U)’s principal general secretary K C Tyagi, while talking to Hindustan Times.
“Our experience of working with them (LJP) is zero,” he added.
Tyagi’s outburst comes after LJP president Chirag Paswan had repeatedly targeted Nitish Kumar government, terming its handling of the migrants’ crisis, Corona pandemic and now floods as inept.
In a recent interview, Chirag went on to wonder what has changed in the last 15 years in Bihar. In July, he had also echoed RJD’s views on the need to defer polls in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, a principal demand of the Opposition leaders during their meeting with the Election Commission. Chirag Paswan’s father Ram Vilas Paswan has aired a similar view on Tuesday.
Chirag’s questioning of law and order under Nitish has irked the chief minister who has been trying to frame his re-election campaign in terms of “vikaswad versus Laluvad”, “15 years of NDA versus 15 years of RJD” and “LED versus lantern”.
On the seat-sharing issue, Tyagi said that while it was premature to say anything, as far as BJP was concerned, the two partners did not face any difficulty during the Lok Sabha polls.
“BJP’s top leaders, Amit Shah and J P Nadda have put the stamp of approval on Nitish Kumar’s leadership. Now, who is LJP to question that? They are not bigger than PM Modi, Shah or Nadda,” he charged.
In fact, senior BJP leaders including Nadda and Bihar BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav had earlier snubbed the LJP on leadership issue in Bihar.
Tyagi also questioned Chirag’s demand for a common minimum programme.
“They are part of the union cabinet. Do they have a CMP there,” he asked.
NDA sources said that the JD(U) and LJP have been at loggerheads over the 12 nominated MLC seats. Another bone of contention is seat sharing between the three parties since JD (U) has staked claim on no less than 120 seats and the BJP is also eyeing to contest no less than 102 seats based on its 17 Lok Sabha seats as compared to JD(U)’s 16. Each Lok Sabha constituency has at least six assembly segments with some having even seven.
Based on the same formula, LJP has also claimed 42 seats, the number of seats it contested in 2015.
Even though the BJP leaders including Bhupendra Yadav have been maintaining that the alliance will contest polls unitedly, the saffron brigade faces a tough task of satisfying each partner.
“NDA is unquestionably a united force which will sweep the 2020 Bihar polls leaving the opposition without enough seats to claim the position of leader of opposition. The opposition Grand Alliance is creating propaganda just for the news value but they are a fragmented and a confused lot on ground without any vision for the future,” opined BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand.