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How Chirag Paswan's go-solo move may change Bihar poll math


New Delhi, Oct 04: Chirag Paswan's LJP's decision to contest the Bihar Election 2020 "on its own" has thrown open new possibilities in the three-phase assembly elections starting from October 28.

Nitish Kumar and Chirag Paswan

Chirag chaired the party's parliamentary board meeting in which a decision was taken to not fight the assembly election, which begins from October 28 in three phases, under Kumar's leadership of the NDA in the state.

"Due to ideological differences with the JD(U), a member of the alliance at the national level and in the assembly polls, the Lok Janshakti Party has decided to fight the elections in Bihar separately from the alliance," a party statement said.

"We will triumph," was the brief comment of Chirag Paswan as he sported a victory sign after the meeting.

However, the LJP's decision has thrown open new possibilities in the Bihar polls as the party may end up damaging the JD(U)'s prospects at several seats. The development may send confusing signals to traditional NDA voters, especially in the constituencies where both the JD(U) and the LJP will contest besides the opposition parties.

The opposition alliance of the RJD, Congress and the Left may receive a boost with the development.

The LJP traditionally draws its support from a big bloc of Dalit voters and has in its ranks a number of upper caste leaders, who are influential in different pockets of the state.

The LJP had deployed a similar strategy in the February 2005 assembly polls in the state when it was part of the Congress-led UPA alliance at the Centre but contested against the RJD, the principal UPA member in Bihar.

Bihar Election 2020: 'What ideological difference,’ JD(U) hits back at LJP

Its gamble paid off initially as the party with its 29 MLAs held the balance of power in a hung assembly which was, however, dissolved and a fresh election called for.

The LJP again fought independently while it remained a member of the UPA at the Centre, but this time people gave the NDA alliance headed by Nitish Kumar a clear majority, ending Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD 15-year reign in the state in 2005.

Political watchers will be keenly watching if the LJP again manages to effect a change of government in the state under its new leader.

The nomination process for the first phase, under which 71 of the total 243 seats will go to polls, began from October 1 and will end on October 8.

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