Following BJP's loss in Delhi Assembly Elections, voices of resentment emerged within the NDA in Bihar. After Janata Dal United (JDU) chief Nitish Kumar curbed voices of discontent within the party, another NDA ally, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) raised its displeasure with the BJP.
According to sources, Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP has decided to to issue a separate manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections, and not depend on the BJP or the NDA Bihar alliance. The party is reportedly discontent with the BJP on several fronts and has even decided to campaign individually. The manifesto released by the LJP will reportedly be called 'Bihar First, Bihari First.' After Delhi assembly polls, all eyes will be set on Bihar, which goes to polls sometime in October-November next year.
The party's national president Chirag Paswan, who recently took the mantle from his father and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan, announced at a press conference here that he would embark on a state-wide 'Bihar First' yatra - with the promise of pulling the state out of its long history of backwardness. "It would be irresponsible on my part to disclose to the media the number of seats my party would like to contest, before discussing the same with my alliance partners. We have identified 119 seats in the 243-strong assembly which are held neither by the JD(U) nor the BJP where our party will devote itself to strengthen the NDA's prospects," Paswan added.
In the 2015 assembly polls, CM Nitish Kumar's JDU, then a part of the Mahagathbandhan won 71 seats, Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD won 80 seats, and Congress won 27 seats. The BJP which fought the elections alone after Nitish Kumar, in 2013, broke the 17-year-old alliance, claiming 'external interference' won a mere 53 seats out of 157 contested. However, the party came back to power after Kumar ditched the Mahagathbandhan and once again stitched an alliance with the old ally.
In 2010 assembly elections, the JD(U) was the ‘big brother’ and had contested 141 seats, leaving 102 seats for the BJP in the 243 assembly. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the JD(U) had contested 25 seats and the BJP 15 seats. While Nitish Kumar has already been declared as leader of the NDA for 2020 Bihar assembly elections, it will be interesing to see how the seat-sharing pact of the NDA unfolds.
(with PTI inputs)