The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is cosying up with Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan as Union Minister Nityanand Rai met him on July 14, second time within a week. He also gave him the letter of BJP Chief JP Nadda in which he has invited him to attend the NDA meeting. BJP has also invited Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) President Jitan Ram Manjhi for the NDA meet.
While speaking to the mediaperson, Chirag Paswan said, “We will take a final decision after consulting the party leaders. We have supported BJP on various issues from time to time, but the final decision on whether to go to the NDA meeting or not will be taken after meeting with party leaders.”
Manjhi’s son and Hindustani Awam Morcha leader Santosh Suman resigned as a minister in the Bihar government on June 13, 2023. Suman alleged that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was exerting pressure on them to merge Hindustani Awam Morcha with the Janata Dal (United). Previously, Manjhi was part of the NDA also and he is a prominent Mahadalit leader. In Bihar, six Lok Sabha seats and 36 Vidhan sabha seats are reserved.
The objective of the meeting of the NDA partners is to put up a show of strength in wake of the efforts that are being made by the opposition to put up a united front against the NDA.
Earlier, J P Nadda had said that LJP was an important constituent of the NDA and a key partner in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s endeavour to carry out development work and push for the welfare of the people.
Chirag Paswan Walked out of NDA During Bihar 2020 Assembly Polls
Relations between BJP and LJP had taken a back seat when Chirag Paswan snapped ties with NDA during the Bihar assembly Polls 2020 to campaign against Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU), which was at that time main ally of the BJP.
Split in LJP
Chirag Paswan had a tough time to keep his cadre united as there was a split in LJP that was spearheaded by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, who is presently a Union Minister. However, Chirag has been able to keep his core vote bank intact, thereby sending a strong message to the BJP about his importance in the state where the former is facing a united opposition consisting of the RJD, JD(U), Congress and the Left.
Chirag Paswan in the past has also been swift to support the BJP on important issues.
New allies to Attend NDA meet on July 18
A number of new allies from different parts of the country are likely to attend the NDA meet on July 18. Prominent among them are Shiv Sena headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Ajit Pawar led NCP faction, small parties from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as well as some regional parties from the northeastern states.