Patna: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now started alleging an internal pact between the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan, after realising that the narrative of a tacit understanding between the BJP and LJP in the Bihar elections has the potential to hurt both its alliance and poll prospects.
The move is aimed at clearing the confusion not only among the cadre but the public too, said party leaders who didn’t wish to be identified.
The BJP has also started conducting more NDA coordination committee meetings to clear any “doubts” and ensure that the campaign is not marred by any confusion among the cadre.
The party is also facing pressure from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) to come clean on the issue.
A tacit understanding between the BJP and LJP is likely to hit JD(U) more because the anti-incumbency in the state is directed more against the CM. The day BJP-JD(U) announced their seat-sharing agreement, it is said that Nitish arrived late to express his displeasure over the issue.
Despite the LJP attacking Nitish’s performance in Bihar and quitting the NDA in the state, the BJP has not expelled the party from the national alliance.
But public perception of fissures in the BJP-JD(U) alliance are likely to hit the BJP too. So, the party is trying hard to dispel “rumours” of any unspoken understanding.
The LJP-RJD theory
Days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that Nitish Kumar will remain in the chief ministerial chair, if the NDA wins the upcoming assembly elections, party leaders in the state have started making similar statements.
Union minister Giriraj Singh has also raised the issue of the RJD and LJP having an internal pact.
यही है RJD और LJP का असली स्कीम । pic.twitter.com/rroY6Xjvmj
— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) October 19, 2020
“Chirag Paswan is criticising JD(U) and Nitish Kumar, but is silent on Tejashwi Yadav. On the other hand, Tejashwi has been making statements that Nitish Kumar did injustice to Paswan. So clearly there is an internal pact and people need to know this so that there is no confusion among them when they go out to vote,” said a senior BJP leader who didn’t wish to be named.
A number of BJP leaders are also aggressively raising this issue to counter Chirag Paswan who had claimed that he has the blessings of PM Modi.
“Chirag Paswan claims Modi ji is his Ram and he is Hanuman. But Hanuman ji toh wahi karte the jo Ram kehte the lekin Chirag toh Ram ko maante hain but Ram ki nahi (Chirag Paswan claims Modi is his Ram and he is Hanuman. But Hanuman used to do as Ram said and Chirag is not doing that),” said Shahnawaz Hussain, national spokesperson of BJP.
“As far as elections are concerned NDA will be back to power. People vote those they have hope from,” added Hussain.
The Bihar unit of the party is also banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on 23 October to put an end to all rumours of a “secret alliance” between Paswan and BJP.
Modi will launch the party’s poll campaign on 23 October, with a rally in Dehri in Sasaram.
Several BJP leaders from Bihar and Delhi also termed LJP a “vote-cutter” as they sought to clear the “confusion” created by the latter with respect to the parties’ “equation” for the state polls.
The LJP has decided to contest 95 seats and has fielded 85 candidates so far, including many BJP and JD(U) rebels. What has given credence to the theory that RJD and LJP have a “secret pact” is the fact that Chirag Paswan, who had earlier said that he would not field any candidates against the BJP, has fielded a few now.
The speculation rose soon after LJP MP Prince Raj went to RJD chief Lalu Yadav’s residence Although, he later told reporters that the meeting was to invite them for Ram Vilas Paswan’s ‘shraadh’ ceremony.
Apart from BJP president J.P. Nadda, other senior party leaders, including Bhupender Yadav, Bihar president Sanjay Jaiswal, and Nand Kishore Yadav, have been holding meetings with the cadre and public ahead of the assembly polls.