The first phase of Bihar Assembly elections might be done and dusted but the rivalries and cutting speeches from the politicians in the fray are far from over. After RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav claimed that he was open to a post-poll alliance with LJP if the need arises to form a government in the state, the LJP President Chirag Paswan has hit back at Yadav’s statements and simultaneously pledged his unswerving fidelity to BJP.
“Allow me to put this on record and please show it to me again on 10 November, just in case I take any other stand. Let me say this categorically, on record, that the LJP will not support anybody’s leadership, whether it is anyone from the Mahagathbandhan (Congress-RJD alliance) or anyone from the JD(U) or whether it is the current CM Nitish Kumar Ji. We are not going to support anyone else except a chief minister candidate from BJP,” said Chirag Paswan in an interview to The Print.
Chirag Paswan’s response was to a statement made by Tejashwi Yadav ten days ago at an electorate rally in Jamui (Coincidentally Jamui is Chirag’s constituency and the RJD scion was trying to woo the LJP President in his own house)
Reported by TFI, Tejashwi had played the emotional card by evoking Chirag’s departed father Ram Vilas Paswan and how he had been done badly by Nitish Kumar and his JDU. In the very next statement, Yadav had shown his true intent behind his condolences.
“Sarkar banana ke lie zarurat padi to Chirag Paswan ka bhi saath le sakte hai” (If there is a prospect of forming the government, we can seek the support of Chirag Paswan), the RJD leader had said back then.
However, Chirag Paswan’s has made his stand clear–he doesn’t see himself as an opportunist that will side with RJD for the sake of forming a government. Chirag said he has told his cadres that on seats where the LJP is not contesting, they should support the BJP.
“Yes, of course. Yes. I’ve said that. And I want the BJP to perform well because, eventually, I am looking forward to a double-engine ki sarkar, the BJP-led government at the Centre and in Bihar, too,” said Chirag.
Chirag and his party are not contesting on the seats where BJP is contesting, however, it is going toe-to-toe with JDU, in an attempt to end the 15-year-old reign of Sushasan Babu.
Chirag is planning to cut into the JD(U) votes in the 143 seats that his party is contesting and potentially emerge as a kingmaker, in case the NDA falls short of a majority.
Chirag Paswan—the hot commodity of Bihar elections
Throughout the last couple of months, Paswan has created ripples within the entire political spectrum of Bihar with his scathing criticism of Nitish Kumar and his subsequent decision of breaking up with NDA.
Chirag Paswan has become extremely popular in the state in the last few years, especially after the Coronavirus lockdown when he directly took on Nitish Kumar on the migrants’ issue and gave popular slogans such as “Bihar first, Bihari first”. RJD thought of using the charisma of Chirag to give an impetus to its dingy political campaign but the LJP leader, coached by an excellent tactician father cum mentor Ram Vilas Paswan, didn’t fell prey to the bait.
BJP might be attacking Chirag for the optics and for JDU’s comfort but the unavoidable truth is that the top brass of the saffron party wants Nitish Kumar gone and thus it is playing the long game with Chirag Paswan being Amit Shah’s trusted lieutenant.
Chirag by clearing the air about a potential move to RJD has once again shown that he is firm in his beliefs and that a post-poll alliance with BJP is indeed in the offing.