Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the president of the Janata Dal-United, appears to have settled score with the Lok Janshakti Party chief, Chirag Paswan, when on April 6, the former wooed the lone MLA of the LJP, Raj Kumar Singh, to his party.
Raj Kumar represents Matihani Assembly seat in Begusarai district.
The lone LJP MLC, Nutan Singh, had a few weeks back crossed over to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Though the LJP has no legislator in Bihar Assembly it has six Lok Sabha MPs—three of them are from Paswan family. Apart from Chirag, his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras and cousin Prince Raj are members of Parliament.
Independent analysts are of the view that Nitish may have got satisfaction in taking in to his party the lone MLA of the LJP, yet one cannot deny the fact that Chirag’s decision to go alone and field 143 candidates in the last year Assembly election greatly damaged Nitish. He is yet to recover from this shock.
In all 115 out of 143 LJP candidates were fielded against the JD-U and rest against the BJP candidates. The LJP also managed to attract several senior BJP leaders and gave them tickets though they could not win. This included Rajendra Singh, the chief ministerial face of the BJP in 2015, and Rameshwar Chaurasia—both having RSS background.
Though the BJP still managed to win 74 seats, just one less than the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nitish Kumar’s party ended up with just 43 seats. While JD-U had contested 122 seats, its alliance partner, the BJP, fielded its nominees in the rest 121.
If today Nitish is at his weakest position it is largely because of this one decision of Chirag. After the election, Nitish had won over the lone Bahujan Samaj Party MLA, Zaman Khan and made him a minister.
Last month, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) had merged with Nitish’s Janata Dal-United. RLSP could not win a single seat last year.