While many party leaders and cadres are pressing for the LJP to contest the Bihar Assembly elections on its own, the party is seen as engaging in a final round of bargaining over seats with the BJP. The party is now likely to take a decision on whether to stay with the BJP-led NDA, despite party chief Chirag Paswan’s severe criticism of Chief Minister and chief of fellow NDA partner JD(U) Nitish Kumar, on Wednesday.
The saffron party has reportedly made a final offer of 27 seats to the LJP, and has also told its smaller partner that two MLC positions from the party will be considered at a later stage.
Several LJP leaders insist on contesting 143 Assembly seats alone. Party MP from Vaishali constituency, Veena Devi, said, “Although we will support any decision our party president (Chirag) takes, our workers want us to contest on 143 seats.”
Party spokesperson Ashraf Ansari told The Indian Express, “We have our list of 143 candidates ready. We have left it to our national president, Chirag Paswan, to take a final call.” He said senior LJP leaders did discuss BJP’s offer, and “it is now time for a final call”.
Chirag had met BJP national president J P Nadda on Tuesday.
The LJP is likely to delay its decision until Wednesday as party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan is likely to undergo a surgical procedure. On Tuesday, Chirag had visited Prachin Hanuman temple in New Delhi to pray for his father’s well-being.
Although the scene of action is Patna, most LJP leaders are camped in the national capital to wait for the party’s final decision. Chirag had last week said he was unable to leave Delhi given his father’s illness.
A source in the BJP said the party has offered the LJP a “respectable number of seats”. A senior BJP leader said, “Chirag has perhaps gone too far in his criticism of the Chief Minister. We are still trying to keep the NDA intact. It is now up to Chirag to take a call.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines