Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan is facing a barrage of criticism from both the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) for his decision to quit the NDA and thus emerging as a vote cutter party in the just concluded Assembly elections in Bihar.
BJP leader and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said that Chirag didn't hurt the Janata Dal (United) alone, but the whole alliance. The LJP quit the NDA ahead of polls, citing ideological differences with Nitish Kumar. Chirag ran anti-Nitish campaign and attacked him over several issues, including the handling of Covid-19 situation, migrants exodus and floods in the state.
"I can't say whether Chirag Paswan is with the NDA at the Centre, but he is surely not the Bihar NDA. We lost Bhagalpur because of him. VIP's four candidates lost due to him," Sushil Kumar Modi told India TV.
Senior JD-U leader KC Tyagi also slammed Paswan for contesting the election alone, thus hurting the prospects of his party. Tyagi said that Chirag Paswan emerged as the biggest enemy for the NDA. "He failed to perform himself and also dented us," Tyagi told India TV.
Tyagi said that NDA in Bihar means Nitish and "PM Narendra Modi, BJP national president JP Nadda had made it clear".
"The agenda was to run a negative campaign to remove Nitish Kumar," he said. "But our 15 years work didn't allow them to succeed and the NDA won".
Chirag's father Ram Vilas Paswan was minister in the Modi government until he passed away just ahead of the Assembly elections in Bihar.
This election, Chirag's LJP won just one seat. The party contested on nearly 145 of the 243 Assembly seats with its candidates pitted against JD(U) nominees in most constituencies.
While Chirag during his rallies attacked Nitish, he refrained from making comments on the BJP and tried to project himself as the 'loyal' ally of the saffron party. He even claimed that the LJP and BJP will together form the next government in Bihar.
According to India TV's analysis, had the LJP contested elections with the NDA, the alliance would have secured more than 160 seats. The LJP emerged as a vote cutter party at 37 seats, thus hurting the JDU candidates the most. On these 37 seats, opposition's candidates won by a thin margin. The LJP secured 20-31% votes at 9 seats, 10-20% votes at 15 seats, and 5-10% votes at 13 seats.
The BJP-JDU alliance has won 125 seats in the 243-member Legislative Assembly. The BJP secured 43 seats while the JDU pocketed 43 seats. Other NDA partners Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) won four seats each.