BJP turns to Bihar's small parties after Nitish's exit, tempts other members of Grand Alliance

BJP's move comes days after Amit Shah asserted that his party's doors were permanently closed for Bihar CM Nitish and called the JD(U) leader 'avasarvadi'

Published: 27th February 2023 12:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2023 12:22 PM   |  A+A-

A collage of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (L) and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. (File photo | PTI)

Express News Service

PATNA: The BJP has started making efforts to woo small parties to compensate for losses suffered due to the exit of Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) from the NDA.

The saffron party had shown its intention to take small parties on board by sending positive vibes after Bihar's Chief Minister had snapped ties with the BJP last August.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement during his public meeting at Lauria in West Champaran district last Saturday that BJP's doors for Nitish were "permanently closed" is seen as his ploy to draw clear battle lines and leave no ambiguity over it, particularly among his party's rank and file ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

LJP (Ram Vilas) chief and MP Chirag Paswan, who is the son of late Ram Vilas Paswan had campaigned for BJP candidates in the by-elections held post-split. Paswan has a strong hold over his caste members. His caste, Dushadh, constitutes around 4 to 4.5 per cent of the state's population.

BJP may also try to enter into an alliance with former JD(U) leader and union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal (RLJD) for the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Kushwaha had fallen out with Nitish after the latter projected his deputy and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as his political successor. Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal had also met Kushwaha after the latter left JD (U) recently.

If BJP finally gets the support of Kushwaha in the 2024 LS election, it can hope of bagging substantial votes of Kushwahas, constituting up to  4.5 per cent of the state's population.

Of late, a few RJD leaders had started insisting that Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav should be elevated to the post of CM, creating an impression that Nitish might reconsider his alliance with the RJD.

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Meanwhile, the BJP is also trying to take Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) chief and former minister Mukesh Sahni on board with the objective to broaden its support base. Sahni is quite popular among members of his caste, Mallah (boatman) and will brighten the electoral prospects of the saffron party if it succeeds in entering into an alliance with him.

Mallah's population is nearly 3 per cent of the state`s total population. Since Mallahs in Bihar are economically stronger than their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh, they can influence the voting pattern of other similar EBC castes. In such a situation, Mallahas can influence up to 5 per cent of votes in Bihar.

Similarly, BJP is trying to take Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)'s chief Jitan Ram Manjhi on board. Nitish in a public meeting in Purnea on Saturday even appealed to Manjhi not to fall into the trap of the BJP, promising him full respect in the grand alliance itself. Manjhi, on the other hand, hit back at BJP showcasing his faith in Nitish's leadership. “We are with Nitish Kumar. It hardly matters which parties he stitches alliance,” he told the media on the sidelines of his 'Garib Chetna rally' in Gaya.


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