PATNA: The Lok Janshakti Party, headed by Chirag Paswan, will contest the West Bengal and Assam assembly elections. This comes after its arch political rival JDU's decision to fight elections in the two states.
The decision was taken a day after objection raised by JDU over the invitation sent to LJP for participation in NDA meeting on Saturday. The Lok Janshakti Party has decided to field its candidates in all seats in both states, which may give more ‘political headache’ to JD (U) than BJP.
West Bengal has a total of 294 assembly seats while Assam's total strength is 126. Confirming this, LJP’s general secretary, Abdul Khaliq on Sunday said that the LJP has already conducted first rounds of meeting with leaders of the party in these states regarding the poll strategies.
“The party units of both states were discussed and consulted before taking this decision. After which it was decided to enter the elections in both the states”, Khaliq told the media, adding that contesting in the states will help to strengthen the party. When asked if LJP is to go in alliance with BJP, Khaliq said that BJP has emerged as a bigger party in those states needing no alliance with anyone.
On the question if the LJP will again field candidates against JDU like in recent Bihar polls, he said the party will consider all ways to strengthen its foothold. But sources conform that LJP is likely to repeat its strategy against JDU from Bihar in West Bengal and Assam as well.
“The LJP's decision to enter the poll fray in West Bengal and Assam will certainly deviate the SC-ST and other weaker section voters from ruling TMC in West Bengal and from the opposition in Assam -- benefiting the BJP,” said some local poll analysts.
In Assam, the JDU had contested the 2016 assembly elections in alliance with All India United Democratic Front. JDU in-charge of northeast states Sanjay Verma said that the LJP’s decision to contest in Assam will make no impact on the JD(U). Verma is scheduled to go to Guwahati on a 2-day visit on February 3 to discuss the party strategies with other leaders.
Meanwhile, RJD has also announced to contest elections in West Bengal and Assam. A senior delegation of the party, led by RJD National Chief General Secretary Abdul Bari Siddiqui and National General Secretary Shyam Rajak has reached Kolkata and will meet TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and TMC youth leader Abhishek Banerjee on February 2 to discuss possibilities of an alliance. The RJD has some influence in non-Bengali Bihari origin voters.