The Bihar Post

BJP opens door for party rebels who cut JD-U ‘down to size’ in 2020 assembly polls

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PATNA—After displaying initial discomfort, the BJP has finally opened its doors for the party rebels who cut the JD-U down to size and ultimately made it a Number three party in Bihar.

Call it a new twist in the continuing coalition conflict or just the saffron camp’s urgency to consolidate its vote bank, the BJP has gone on the overdrive welcoming back party rebels with open arms. In the past one fortnight, as many as 10 party rebels, including three heavyweights, have made “homecoming”, much to the discomfiture of the JD-U.

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Around 35 prominent leaders, nine of them being heavyweights, had quit the party after being denied tickets by the party in the last 2020 assembly polls when the BJP contested the elections in alliance with chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD-U.

Majority of them had contested the elections against the JD-U candidates on Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) tickets. Although they themselves failed to win elections, their move caused a sharp split in NDA votes, resulting in defeat of JD-U candidates.

The result was that the JD-U was able to win only 43 seats in 243-member Bihar assembly, thus reducing it as a Number three party for the first time in 20 years while the BJP with 74 seats emerged as the single largest party in the NDA.

The RJD with 75 seats, however, emerged as the single-largest party in the state assembly.

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What was more interesting, none of the top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ever tried to clear confusion from the minds of the voters about NDA’s relations with the LJP during the month-long poll campaign; instead, they remained silent over the LJP. A twist in the turn came when the PM, at one of his election rallies, described LJP founder late Ram Vilas Paswan as a “true friend” while paying him tribute.

After strong protests and objections from the JD-U, the BJP leadership later expelled nine party rebels from the party for six years. They included Rajendra Singh, Rameashwar Chaurasia, both from Rohtas, Usha Vidyarthi, Patna, Ravindra Yadav, Jhajha, Shweta Singh, Bhojpur, Indu Kashyap, Jehanabad, Anil Kumar, Patna Rural, Mrinal Shekhar and Ajay Pratap (Jamui), all heavyweights.

Although all these leaders were expelled for “six” years, the BJP leadership has now suddenly gone on the overdrive to welcome them back into the party barely within 15 months, much to the annoyance of the JD-U.

The reason behind their annoyance is that all these BJP rebels had badly damaged the JD-U’s prospects by contesting against the party’s official candidates—a kind of move which pushed the Nitish party to the humiliating third slot.

Three key leaders among 10 who have now returned to the BJP include Rajendra Singh, a prominent face once considered party’s chief ministerial candidate, Rameshwar Chaurasia who was associated with the party for 35 years and Usha Vidyarthi.

Curiously, their “homecoming” began shortly after the JD-U leadership indulged in verbal duels with the BJP over various issues, such as rewarding controversial playwright Daya Prakash Sinha who compared emperor Ashoka with Aurangzeb, demand for caste census and then reviving the demand for granting special category status to Bihar with pinching Twitter hashtag campaign “desh ke pradhan, Bihar par dein dhyaan” (Head of the country must pay attention to the interests of Bihar).

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