Even as the BJP is trying hard to show a united front with ally Nitish Kumar in Bihar to fight the impression that it’s using LJP to scuttle JD(U)’s chances, LJP chief Chirag Paswan and Grand Alliance CM nominee Tejashwi Yadav continue to refrain from attacking each other.
In fact, Tejashwi has expressed solidarity with Chirag, who recently lost his father Ram Vilas Pawan. Talking to reporters during campaigning, Tejashwi said on Monday: “It is Chirag Paswan who would be needing his father most now. We all are sad that Ram Vilas Paswan is not among us. The way Nitish Kumar treated Chirag is injustice to him.”
It is worth recalling that among the senior Bihar leaders, it was only Tejashwi who reached out to Chirag after Ram Vilas Paswan’s mortal remains arrived at Patna airport.
Chirag Paswan, on his part, has refrained from attacking Tejashwi. He had told The Indian Express in a recent interview that “Tejashwi has been doing his job as leader of Opposition and it is CM Nitish Kumar who should be targeted”.
As new political posturing begins, BJP looks in damage-control mode over the wide impression that LJP is playing as its B team. With Chirag Paswan not objecting to BJP’s statements against him to keep Nitish in good humour, the impression of silent camaraderie between LJP and BJP is growing.
Top BJP leaders, including Union home minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda and Bihar BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav have reiterated that Nitish Kumar was the NDA’s CM choice, irrespective of which among party wins more seats.
The BJP followed this up with a joint rally of CM Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi. On Monday, NDA leaders held a joint meeting in Darbhanga after filing nomination of their candidates. A senior JD (U) leader said: “This is a sign of better integration between JD (U) and BJP. It will be followed by a PM-CM rally from October 23. The message of solidarity is complete now. There is no confusion.”
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