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Paswan’s LJP to tie up with BJP


Patna, Feb 24:

Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in Bihar is set to forge an alliance with BJP-led NDA to contest the Lok Sabha polls, a party leader said Monday.

ramvilas paswanA senior LJP leader closed to Paswan here told IANS that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in touch with the LJP for a possible alliance.

“It may be formally announced in next two to three days,” the LJP leader said.

The LJP leader said that alliance between LJP and BJP has been finalised.

“Now, one thing is certain that LJP will join hands with BJP for Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

However, speculations are rife here a day after it was reported that LJP is likely to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Congress leaders and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was trying for over a month for a strong secular formation of Congress-RJD-LJP, are worried.

According to LJP leaders, Paswan will contest the Lok Sabha polls from his traditional Hajipur seat and his son Chirag Paswan will contest from Jamui seat after an alliance with BJP.

Paswan has repeatedly claimed that he had walked out of NDA after the 2002 riots in Gujarat and resigned from cabinet of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the same issue.

Paswan till last week looked likely to ally with the Congress and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar for a strong secular formation.

But LJP was bargaining for 9 to 10 of 40 Lok Sabha seats of Bihar to contest polls and Congress and RJD were not ready to give more than 5 seats to LJP.

It is believed that when LJP’s demand for more seats was rejected by the Congress and RJD, Paswan approached the BJP for an alliance.

In last Lok Sabha polls in 2009, LJP failed to win a single seat and even Paswan was defeated from Hajipur. The poor show in 2010 state assembly polls forced Paswan to get closed to Congress and RJD. It was Lalu Prasad who helped Paswan win a Rajya Sabha seat from Bihar.

Incidentally, a senior BJP leader and former minister has strongly opposed any electoral alliance with Paswan’s party.

Ashwani Kumar Choubey said Paswan is an opportunist and is keen to join BJP in view of wave sweeping across the country in favour of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“It would be a suicidal decision for the party to have an alliance with LJP,” said Choubey, a vocal supporter of Modi.

He said LJP is a party that symbolizes family rule and believes in political opportunism.

Choubey also said that electoral alliance with LJP should not be finalised at the cost of party workers and leaders.

“LJP is demanding 11 Lok Sabha seats…,” he said.