Rattled by Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan’s repeated attacks on Nitish Kumar — and his simultaneous praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP — the Janata Dal (United) has cautioned its ally that this could hurt the alliance. And has asked the BJP to clearly signal that it’s not playing both sides. This may be easier said than done.
But, sources said, this was behind senior BJP leaders Friday coming out sharply criticising Paswan, backing Nitish and announcing joint rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar. This, even as a section of the BJP planned to prop up the young Paswan, hoping this will “cut Nitish to size,” blunt anti-incumbency, and reduce his party to a junior partner. This section even wanted the LJP as a partner, given its 5 per cent support base, especially among a section of Dalits.
JD(U) sources said the party will insist that LJP cannot be considered either for the Rajya Sabha seat vacant after the death of Ram Vilas Paswan or for the Ministerial post in the event of a Cabinet expansion. “The LJP has fielded candidates against NDA candidates. Then how can it be considered for either? Besides, the JD (U) will definitely field a candidate against Chirag in the next Lok Sabha election,” said a leader.
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