With the BJP contesting the panchayat elections in UP for the first time this year, another NDA constituent, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is also planning to enter the fray by fielding its candidates in alliance with the saffron party for the village-level polls.
State LJP president Triveni Prasad Pal told The Indian Express that the party will contest panchayat elections in UP in alliance with BJP and other constituents of NDA. “LJP will certainly field candidates on some reserved seats of zila panchayat, kshetra panchayat and gram panchayat. A meeting with other constituents of NDA will be held in this regard very soon,” Pal said after a party meeting on Saturday.
To strengthen the party organisation in the state, the LJP has already launched a mass recruitment campaign. It had previously held three Dalit Mahasammelans in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi, Pal said. The party has also launched a toll-free number as part of its recruitment campaign.
On Saturday, the party state unit set a target of enrolling at least 25,000 new members in each Assembly segment by November.
Pal said the LJP will support BJP candidates on seats where it is not contesting in the Panchayat polls, dates of which are likely to be announced in September. “LJP will ensure that a situation of confrontation does not arise with the BJP on any seat in the panchayat elections,” he said.
Pal said in order to strengthen its foothold in UP, the LJP has already organised several meetings addressed by party president Ram Vilas Paswan, where the Union minister targeted the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Pal said the party will stage dharnas throughout the state on August 21 to protest against the issues of corruption and harassment of common people in government offices under the Akhilesh Yadav-led regime.
In panchayat polls too, LJP will campaign against both SP and BSP who ruled in UP for nearly 20 years but did nothing for welfare of Scheduled Castes, he added.
Talking about the LJP’s plans to contest the UP Assembly polls in 2017, Pal said the party top brass will take a call on this after the Bihar Assembly polls slated later this year.
According to another LJP leader, if the party contests Assembly elections in 2017 in alliance with BJP, it could be benefit both the allies as the LJP may help in denting the Dalit vote bank of the BSP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be the face of BJP in the elections.
The LJP has mostly confined its politics to Bihar and has got little public support in UP, mainly in the Bihar-bordering districts of the state. The Paswan-led party had contested on 212 seats in UP Assembly in 2012 but security deposit of all its candidates had been forfeited. In 2002, LJP had won only one seat of the 18 Assembly seats in UP where it had contested.