In sharp reaction against NDA's invite to LJP chief Chirag Paswan for ally-meet, JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi, while speaking to PTI, said that it does not consider Paswan's party a member of the NDA. The LJP had walked out of the NDA in Bihar last year due to its opposition to Nitish Kumar and contested the state assembly polls on its own. It put up candidates in all the seats where the JD(U) was in the fray while largely spared the BJP except for a few seats. However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi invited LJP chief Paswan for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies meeting for Budget session, which was not attended by Paswan citing "health reasons."
The move has however irked the JDU, and Tyagi said, "The LJP had worked against the NDA's official candidates in the assembly elections. It did not work merely against the JD(U) but also against candidates of the BJP and two other allies—Vikassheel Insaan Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular). This caused a lot of harm to the NDA."
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself said (during the polls) the NDA in Bihar is working under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's leadership and this includes VIP and HAM. Therefore, we do not consider the LJP a part of the NDA," Tyagi added.
Moreover, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM, which is close to the JD(U), condemned the decision to invite the LJP to the NDA meeting. "This is not appropriate at all. The LJP stabbed the NDA in the back during the polls. Manjhi Ji will now decide whether to continue to stay in the NDA," party spokesperson Danish Rizwan said.
This comes at the backdrop of the tensed relation between BJP and JDU in Bihar after JDU MLAs from Arunachal Pradesh joined the saffron party. Though both sides have stated that political developments in Arunachal will not affect the tie-up in Bihar, fissures are visible. Moreover, JDU has been claiming that LJP's statements against Nitish Kumar as the reason for JDU's poor performance in the recently concluded polls. LJP had quit NDA ahead of Bihar polls, owing to the disagreement with Nitish Kumar. Paswan had said that he is PM Modi's "Hanuman", and had urged people of Bihar to vote against "tired" Nitish Kumar, a pitch similar to RJD's Tejashwi Yadav. The reduced seats of JDU in the elections led to BJP being the "big-brother" in Bihar and even though Nitish was sworn-in as the CM, BJP placed two Deputy CMs and the cabinet expansion is in limbo.