Jolt to Congress as Paswan is All Set to Align with BJP again in Bihar
Twelve years after he walked out of Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, Ram Vilas Paswan is set to return to the fold in the wake of the Congress and the RJD overlooking his demand for the Lok Sabha seats in Bihar.
For the BJP, the LJP’s re-entry would be a moral victory of sorts as it would imply that its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was no longer untouchable by parties which harped about their secular credentials.
Since Paswan has made public his party’s willingness to join hands with the BJP, the saffron party is now expected to formally debate the matter within the party forum before signing a deal.
At the heart of this political realignment is Paswan’s consideration to provide a secure political future for his party, particularly his actor-turned-politician son Chirag Paswan, as the BJP is considered frontrunner to form the next government.
The alliance could come about in a few days, as Modi would be in Delhi on Thursday to attend his party’s first central election committee meeting to announce the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.
Modi would be addressing his next major rallies in Bihar, starting March 3, at Muzzafarpur, Purnia. Plans are being made for rallies at Gaya and Saharasa. Paswan is likely to share the stage with Modi.
The BJP is likely to give seven to eight seats for the LJP. Though Paswan demanded 14 seats, the BJP has currently promised only five. However, after days of hard bargain, Paswan might get seats for his son, himself, his relative and other three to four party members. The BJP has already tied up with Upendra Khushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and decided to allot three seats to it.
“The discussions were not revolved around the seats won by us in the last elections (BJP won 12 seats in 2009). We may offer the LJP those seats where we are not strong or the JD(U) had won,” a senior BJP leader said.
Paswan belongs to the Dusadh backward community, which is spread to neighbouring Jharkhand and poorvanchal region in Uttar Pradesh. The saffron party is expecting him to add four to six per cent votes from the backward caste to the party’s kitty.
“Before the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, we welcomed Captain Jai Narain Nishad, a JD(U) MP from Bihar, belonging to the backward caste. That swung one per cent vote in favour of us, as Nishad caste had vote in Chhattisgarh also. In the same way, Paswan could help us get more than 25 seats,” a BJP leader said.