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Rift in Bihar NDA: LJP fires leader for calling NDA ‘intact’

This is, perhaps, for the first time that any leader has been sacked for talking about coalition unity.

Manoj Chaurasia | New Delhi |

In what appears to be the NDA heading for split ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has fired a district unit president for giving a statement to the media that the NDA is intact in the state. This is, perhaps, for the first time that any leader has been sacked for talking about coalition unity.

LJP’s Munger district unit president Raghvendra Bharti had only told the media on Wednesday that the NDA coalition is “unbreakable, united and intact”. But, this was taken very seriously by the top party leadership which removed him from the post soon, terming it as sheer encroachment into the party president’s rights and utter violation of party’ guidelines.

“Bharti’s statement to the media is totally against the party line. He is not authorized to make such comments. Only the party president Chirag Paswan is authorized to issue such statements,” LJP’s principal general secretary Shanawaz Ahmed Kaifi said today. “How can he make such statements? Any such decision can be taken only by the party president,” Kaifi added.

The LJP, one of the three constituents of the NDA, is headed by parliamentarian Chirag Paswan, son of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. However, Chirag is said to be very annoyed with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar over various issues and is contemplating to walk out of the ruling alliance. Only a couple of days back, he said the face of the Bihar NDA could change and asked the party workers to be prepared to contest all the 243 assembly seats in the state.

Reports said the JD-U is not interested in holding alliance talks with the LJP and rather wants the BJP to spare seats to the LJP from its share. Also, the JD-U is not willing to spare too many seats to the LJP which has annoyed the LJP leadership which is said to be working on all options, including possible tie-up with the RJD. It is reported the LJP could be offered a maximum of 20-22 seats which has angered the party leadership.

The differences prevailing between the LJP and the JD-U is underlined from the fact that the Chirag has gone on record saying his party would go with the BJP whether it goes with Nitish Kumar or changes its NDA’s candidate for Bihar.

With the rift in the NDA widely by the day, BJP’s Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav rushed to the Delhi residence of Chirag on Saturday to pacify his anger. Shortly after meeting the LJP chief, Yadav met the chief minister in Patna and discussed the seat-sharing issues, reports said. It is, however, not known what transpired between them but reports said the LJP is adamant on getting a respectable number of seats—something around 40, apart from a share in 12 council seats in the Governor’s quota.