Split in LJP may end up giving an advantage to RJD-led opposition in Bihar
With the split in Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), its support base will certainly be divided among the two splinter groups, the BJP, the JD(U), and the opposition
The revolt within the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has signalled a churning in Bihar politics, the final outcome of which may not only impact the political fortunes of the party but also of the BJP and JD(U) individually and NDA as a whole. This may also present an opportunity to the RJD-led opposition to play some deft political moves of regional importance in Bihar and Jharkhand as well as national significance.
After leading the revolt in LJP and becoming leader of the parliamentary party in the Lok Sabha, MP from Hajipur in Bihar, Pashupati Kumar Paras has said that leaving the NDA during the Vidhan Sabha election in the state last year was a wrong decision. It is a clear signal that the split up group may soon join NDA.
However, it is a common knowledge in the political corridors that a politics of dominance is already being played both by the BJP and JD(U) leaderships within the NDA to cut one another to size. Thus, both the BJP and JD(U) will be forced to adopt a certain attitude of their own regarding the entrance of the splinter LJP group into the NDA fold.
Four other MPs – Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Qaisar from Khagaria, Chandan Kumar from Nawada, Veena Devi from Vaishali, and Prince Raj from Samastipur – had met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in the evening of June 13, 2021 and again next morning to convey their decision of electing Paras as their leader and Qaiser as deputy leader in the house. Thus, the split up group consists of five MPs who revolted against the sixth – Chirag Paswan, who is the national president of LJP.
Chirag Paswan is son of late Ram Vilas Paswan who had formed LJP in 2000. Pashupati is the brother and Prince is a nephew of Ram Vilas Paswan. Thus, the present split also has a dynastic element in it.
Chirag's uncle and cousin have reportedly felt they were not being given due weightage in the party and in the family relationship. They have clearly some personal grudge against Chirag.
So be it, but it will have great political ramifications too in Bihar politics where the LJP has considerable base. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, LJP was successful in winning six seats and 8.02 per cent of votes. The support base of the party however got reduced to 5.66 per cent in the Bihar assembly election of October-November 2020, when the party had broken away from NDA.
Chirag strongly criticised Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) while claiming all along during the election that LJP would work with the BJP. There was a feeling among many people in the state that the BJP was playing a game to cut Nitish to size through Chirag, and if he won sufficient number of seats, BJP could even ditch Nitish.
However, it was destined otherwise. LJP won only one seat, and even the lone MLA deserted the party to join JD(U).
Nevertheless, the BJP emerged as the second largest party winning 74 Vidhan Sabha seats with 19.46 per cent of votes. JD(U) could win 43 seats with only 15.39 per cent of votes.
Both parties lost considerable support as they lost vote share from 24.06 and 22.26 respectively just one year ago in 2019 Lok Sabha election winning 17 and 16 seats respectively.
The importance of the development in the LJP in relation to opposition political parties in the state is also of immense value because they have been emerging stronger. The RJD, which got zero seats with 15.36 per cent of votes in 2019 Lok Sabha election, emerged as the largest political party in 2020 Vidhan Sabha election by winning 75 seats and 23.11 percent of votes. The Congress has also been able to increase its share of votes from 7.85 to 9.48 in these two elections.
With this upward graph, the opposition may find an opportunity to take advantage of the falling fortunes of LJP, BJP, and JD(U). With the split in LJP, its support base will certainly be divided among the two splinter groups, the BJP, the JD(U), and the opposition.
It may also skew the political situation in Jharkhand due to realignment of the political parties where LJP, JD(U), and RJD had about 4 per cent of votes all together, especially when winning margins were thin.
Views are personal