PATNA: Even after the announcement of dates for the Bihar Assembly elections, smaller but politically higher ambitious allies of the NDA and the Grand Alliance (GA) are still battling infighting.
While in the NDA, CM Nitish Kumar’s JDU and MP Chirag Paswan’s LJP have been launching volleys at each other, the Mahagathbandhan received a major setback after the RLSP’s Upendra Kushwaha walked out of the Opposition alliance a few days before the election dates were declared.
The LJP has been also feeling alienated in the NDA since the entry of HAM led by prominent face of Dalits and former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, and has turned more vocal against Nitish Kumar projecting Chirag Paswan as the CM face.
“The LJP has been in alliance with the BJP, not with the JD(U) in the NDA. The party’s preparations are well to contest on 143 seats,” the LJP chief had said recently. LJP MP from Nawada Chandan Singh’s recent tweet, saying the people of Bihar now want a young Bihari to take over the reins of the state, also indicated that all is not well in the alliance.
On Friday, Nitish Kumar placed the onus of handling the LJP and looking into its problem on the BJP, saying he does not know what the LJP says about whom.
“I have good relations with Ram Vilas Paswan ji … and I don’t care who says what,” said Kumar in an indirect reference to Chirag Paswan. According to sources in the NDA, an offer of 25 Assembly seats was made to the LJP. But the LJP has reportedly sought 45 seats for itself.
When asked, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said the matter of seat-sharing would be finalised soon by the central leadership of all parties in the NDA. Similarly, the RLSP has already given the RJD nightmares.
On Thursday, Kushwaha said the GA needs a leader who can stand in front of Nitish Kumar, and Tejashawi Yadav cannot counter the NDA in the polls. Kushwaha’s statement irked the RJD.
“Kushwaha is free to do whatever he feels like, but Tejashawi will continue to be the face of GA,” RJD leader Mritunjay Tiwari said, adding that Lalu Prasad’s son was enough to take on the NDA.