The campaigning in Bihar has started and BJP leaders are hard-pressed to dispel doubts from the minds of voters about Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) status in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
In almost all the meetings held so far, the party had to clarify or issue statements that the NDA comprises only four parties – the BJP, the Janata Dal (United), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM-S) and the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP).
BJP leaders admit that while the LJP’s stand has baffled the party, it has also confused party cadres and voters alike. “The sooner this confusion is dismissed, the better it is for the party. The party leadership is doing the right thing in dispelling the confusion. The onus is also on the LJP to clarify on its issue,” said former Union minister and BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan.
“NDA has only four parties. No other party is with us. We do not have any alliance with the LJP and Nitish Kumar is the leader of the alliance,” deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said. “Today, Nitish Kumar has become synonymous with development,” he added.
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A similar statement was made by party state president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal at a rally in Bodh Gaya on Sunday.
A senior BJP functionary, on condition of anonymity, said, “This is being done to thwart any possibility of damage before it is too late as various conspiracy theories are doing the rounds on social media.”
On Monday, at Banka and Jamui, BJP leader in-charge of Bihar elections, Bhupendra Yadav, clarified the party’s stand. “The BJP has only one plan in the election and that is to fight it along with the JD(U). We have spelt out that plan. But in case there is some confusion, I am spelling it out again. The BJP will contest 121 of the 243 seats, the JD(U) will fight on 122. The LJP is not a part of this arrangement because the party chose to fight alone. The NDA is fighting for the development in Bihar under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and vision with Nitish Kumar as the undisputed chief ministerial candidate of the alliance,” said Yadav.
The JD(U), however, does not see any threat from the LJP. “The BJP has done the right thing by clarifying its stand at every possible level. There is little confusion among our cadres,” said party spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan.
DM Diwakar, former director at AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies, however, is of the view that it may backfire on the BJP. “They (BJP) first backed them (LJP). They maintained silence when the LJP announced to field candidates against the JD(U). But now suddenly, they have realized that this was causing more damage than benefitting them. So they have to issue clarifications at every stage,” he said.
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