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LJP decides to fight Bihar polls independently, will remain in NDA at Centre

LJP decides to fight Bihar polls independently, will remain in NDA at Centre
New Delhi: The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will not fight the October-November Bihar Assembly polls under the leadership of Chief Minister and JD-U supremo Nitish Kumar, and will go solo. The decision to quit the NDA alliance in the state was announced at its Parliamentry Board meeting.

"At the state level and for ideological differences with the Janata Dal-United in the Bihar poll alliance, the Lok Janshakti Party has decided to fight the elections in Bihar outside the alliance," the resolution passed by its Parliamentary Board, stated.

In a clear announcement that it was taking arms against the JD-U, the LJP said: "In many seats, there may be ideological fights with the JD-U where the public can decide which representative will keep Bihar's good in mind."

The party arrived at the decision despite outreach efforts by the BJP's top leadership, particularly assigned by party President J.P. Nadda and a meeting between Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Nadda and LJP chief Chirag Paswan.

However, the LJP has been very careful to indicate that its relation with the BJP at the Centre will stay unaltered, and also assured a "post-poll alliance" with the BJP to "uphold the developmental agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi".

However, there was no mention of the JD-U there, while the LJP went on to stress that it had "no hard feelings" with the BJP.

This meeting was called at 3 p.m. amid concerns over the health of party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan, whose ailments had led to postponement of the meeting till Sunday.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chirag Paswan to inquire about the elder Paswan's health condition.

On Saturday, LJP President Chirag Paswan had sought people's "blessings" for his party's "Bihar first Bihari first" vision document,which is viewed by many as an early indication that it may not fight the state assembly polls as part of the National Democratic Alliance.

The vision document has been inspired by Modi, said Paswan who has often made it clear that his main grouse is against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U).

In the statement,Paswan had heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi,saying that all his party's candidates will strengthen the BJP leader's hand.

In a case of mounting concern for the NDA, animosity between the LJP and the JD-U had been growing for quite some time and matters came to such a stage that in late June, a district President of the LJP who had said that the NDA was intact in Bihar was sacked.

A series of verbal fights between the JD-U and the LJP followed, and could not be quelled despite intervention at the level of Amit Shah and Nadda.

Now, in Bihar, the BJP and JD-U will go to polls in an alliance with the Hindustan Awami Morcha-Secular to be accommodated by the JD-U from its share of seats.

However, a situation where the alliance fails to win the required number of seats to form government, and needs the LJP's help, is one that the NDA alliance is hoping to avoid.

Polling in three-phase Bihar election will be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7. Counting of votes will be held on November 10.

The nomination process for the first phase, under which 71 of the total 243 seats will go to polls, began from October 1 and will end on October 8.

In 2015, the LJP had contested 42 seats and won two. The JD(U) was then part of the opposition alliance which decisively defeated the NDA.

(With inputs from agencies)

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TAGS:Bihar UpdatesBihar electionsLJPNDAJDU
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