SLAMMING THE LJP’s move to leave the NDA for the Bihar polls as “overambitious and misplaced”, and “a suicidal act”, the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) said Monday that the political realignment with just three weeks left for voting will have “no impact” on the results.
“The LJP has committed a suicidal act by coming out of the NDA in Bihar while sticking on in the alliance at the Centre for its political survival,” K C Tyagi, JD(U) national spokesperson and former Rajya Sabha MP, told The Indian Express.
Reiterating that the JD(U) is “unaffected” by the move, Tyagi said: “We (JDU and BJP) will swim or sink together. There are no contradictions between us. In the 2010 polls, LJP was not part of NDA. Yet, JD(U) and BJP won 206 of 243 seats.”
The BJP was more measured in its response with national spokesperson Guru Prakash saying that “there is no ambivalence” in the state’s NDA leadership.
Puts Nitish in a spot
The JD(U) may put up a brave face but LJP's open defiance of Nitish Kumar — with the BJP tacitly endorsing it — has put it in a spot. It has also given the Opposition a handle to play up anti-incumbency.
“Our party leadership has time and again expressed faith in Nitish Kumar. It is the Opposition alliance that needs to worry about keeping its house in order. After Jitan Ram Manjhi (HAM) and Upendra Kushwaha (RLSP), Mukesh Sahni (VIP) has deserted that coalition of one man who has time and again displayed a dictatorial streak,” he said, in a reference to RJD founder Lalu Prasad.
JD(U)’s Tyagi said that a “combined campaign” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda, and JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, will “clear all confusion being created by LJP”. “The fact that both parties are coming out with the list for the first phase of polls (on October 28) shows our solidarity,” he said.
Asked if Kumar and Modi would campaign in areas where the LJP puts up candidates against the JD(U), Tyagi said: “The NDA’s top leaders will campaign in favour of NDA candidates.”
Referring to speculation on the alliance’s roadmap after the LJP move, Tyagi said that “all rumours will dissipate” soon. “BJP and JD(U) workers know each other very well and will work in perfect sync. After all, we have been contesting elections together since the 1998 Lok Sabha polls,” he said.
Asked if the LJP’s decision to contest separately would hit the JD(U)’s prospects and enable the BJP to emerge as the single largest party after the polls, Tyagi said: “PM Modi has said on several occasions in the recent past that Nitish Kumar is the face of the NDA alliance in Bihar. The two leaders have also shared the dais on virtual platforms. BJP president J P Nadda also praised Nitish Kumar on several occasions.”
On Sunday, the LJP founded by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan cited “ideological differences with JD(U)” to announce its exit from the alliance for the state polls while reiterating that it would continue with the NDA at the Centre. The party said it would field candidates against the JD(U) but not the BJP for the state polls.
The move came after its relationship with the JD(U) nosedived over the last few months, with the party taking potshots at the Bihar government over its handling of Covid and the migrant crisis that followed the lockdown.
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