The Bihar Post

LJP’s move to contest elections against JDU could hugely alter Bihar politics

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PATNA—Poll scene in Bihar has turned very interesting with scores of alliances trying luck in the elections this time.

In all, there are at least five alliances which have joined the poll fray. They include the NDA, Mahagathbandhan or the Grand Alliance, Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF) led by former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) led by former MP Pappu Yadav and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) headed by former Union minister Yashwant Sinha.

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However, what has infused much interest in this election is the move by the Lok Janshkti Party (LJP) to contest elections against its own ally, the JD-U, in Bihar.

The LJP headed by Chirag Paswan, son of Dalit politician Ram Vilas Paswan who died a couple of days back, has announced to field candidates against 143 seats—mostly against the JD-U which was given 122 seats by the BJP under the seat sharing arrangement.

Past records have shown the NDA has put up a disastrous performance whenever getting caught in triangular contests. The similar contest is likely to be witnessed on most of the seats with the LJP contesting elections on 143 seats against its two allies—the mainly JD-U and the BJP.

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Experts opine the NDA, especially the JD-U, is likely to suffer severe electoral damage due to the very move of the LJP for two reasons—firstly the sympathy wave as a result of death of Paswan midway through the polling and secondly the nature of LJP voters.

According to experts, although the Dusadh (Paswan) community, believed to LJP’s core voters, accounts for roughly seven percent of the total voters in Bihar, they are known for polling aggressively for the party in the elections.

As such, the LJP has been the balancing factor in Bihar and that’s the reason why everyone wants to have friendship with Paswan’s party. Past records say the LJP has polled roughly around seven percent votes in each of the past nine elections to Bihar assembly and LS polls since it came into being in 2000. This kept Paswan afloat most of the time.

Political observers are of the opinion that Bihar could witness a hung House if the LJP is able to make a cut into the BJP’s votes. It is very interesting to note here that LJP chief Chirag Paswan has not said a bit against the BJP and has been constantly heaping praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, indicating his “love” for the saffron camp.

Observers say a hung House could, rather, usher in “new opportunity” before the BJP which has been constantly riding piggyback on Nitish to come to power in Bihar.

“The hung assembly will be a good opportunity for the BJP. Either it will try to form its own government with the support of others or this could lead to imposition of President’s Rule in the state. Both options suit the BJP,” commented a political expert.

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