Past poll confrontations do not favour Chirag Paswan’s aggressive campaign
There is a dissonance between the high decibel campaign of Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan against the Janata Dal (U) and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and the actual on ground confrontation between the two.
In the 2015 Assembly elections, the LJP contested 42 seats. Of these, it came face-to-face with the JD(U) on 22 seats and lost on 21 of them. In three of the 22 seats — Warisnagar, Triveniganj and Sonbarsha — the party lost by more than 50,000 votes.
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Mr. Paswan’s cousin and present Lok Sabha MP Prince Raj lost from Kalyanpur by a margin of over 37,000 votes.
The results of the 2010 Assembly elections were no better. Of the 75 seats that LJP fought, it faced humiliating defeat in 27 at the hands of the JD(U).
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Mr. Chirag Paswan’s uncle Pashupati Nath Paras lost out from Alauli seat that his brother late Ram Vilas Paswan had first won in 1969. Mr Paras lost to the JD(U) by over 17,000 votes.
“JD (U) and LJP have never fought together — be it Assembly elections of 2000, 2005, 2010 or 2015. Whether they are with us or against us, makes no difference to us. In 2005, they fought alone and we swept the polls. Only disappointment is in offing for them,” said JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi said. He said the LJP’s dismal performance in 2015 was in spite of active support from the BJP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigning on many seats for them.
The LJP, meanwhile, claimed the situation in the last two Assembly polls was vastly different from today. Earlier, there was a wave in favour of JD(U) and specifically Nitish Kumar, that has reversed now.
“The political situation keeps changing, the ground reality is different today. There is a huge anti-incumbency against the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. It is no longer even anti-incumbency; it is sheer anger against him,” LJP’s parliamentary board general secretary Abdul Khaliq said. He added that LJP wanted the BJP to take the lead in this election and even now their fight is to replace the JD(U) with a BJP government.
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