Patna, Feb. 26: Ideology can wait, not seat-sharing.
The “second honeymoon”, as one of the leaders put it, of the possible BJP-LJP alliance in the run-up to the general elections might not be smooth like the earlier one. “It has more to do with allotment or denial of seats than ideology,” said a senior leader stressing that the alliance would be gainful for both the parties.
The strong possibility of Ram Vilas Paswan returning to the NDA has made state BJP leaders uneasy. “The wave of Narendra Modi is so strong that now even his rivals are joining us,” said BJP vice-president C.P. Thakur stressing that every BJP leader would fall in line when president Rajnath Singh endorses the alliance.
The resistance of the state BJP leaders is both due to the number of seats being given to the BJP and the quality of candidates to be fielded by the LJP.
Several BJP leaders tend to agree with the reaction of chief minister Nitish Kumar on the possible alliance as “strange but true”.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey went public in dubbing the alliance with BJP “suicidal”. Choubey wants to contest from Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat, which is being currently held by Syed Shahnawaz Hussein, the architect of the BJP-LJP alliance.
“I do not have any objections with Paswan. But he tends to field candidates of dubious nature,” said BJP MLA Achchudanand, an aspirant for the party ticket from Vaishali. Suddenly, he finds his seat would be taken over by the LJP, which is reported to be fielding former MLA Eama Singh, a criminal-turned-politician.
“The central leadership is engaged with the matter,” said BJP state president Mangal Pandey.
Even the LJP has not been spared by protests from its own ranks over the alliance with the BJP. The lone LJP MLA, Zakir Anwar, quit the party and so did its prominent leader Bijendra Kumar Choudhary. “Both were aspirants for Araria and Muzaffarpur and this alliance means that their future is blocked,” said a senior LJP leader.
The seats, apparently so far, conceded by the BJP to the LJP are Hajipur, Samastipur, Jamui, Supaul, Madhepura, Munger and Vaishali.
While the first three seats are to be contested by Ram Vilas, Ram Chandra Paswan and Chirag Paswan, respectively, the Supaul seat is almost going to former MP Ranjita Ranjan, wife of former MP Pappu Yadav, who has been acquitted in the murder of CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar. There are indications that Pappu may contest from Madhepura to take on Sharad Yadav.
In Munger, the LJP is likely to field Veena Devi, the wife of don-turned-politician Surajbhan Singh, who is convicted in a murder case. Vaishali is going to another don-turned-politician Rama Singh. “The list looks like a dynasty,” said a BJP leader.