The Bihar unit of the BJP today issued a warning, addressing Chirag Paswan and its own rebels lining up to contest the coming elections from his party, to “come back to the BJP fold or be expelled”. While BJP’s seniormost leaders — Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Devendra Fadnavis who is in charge of electioneering for the party — issued the warning, state party chief Sanjay Jaiswal threatened the rebels of police cases too for any non-NDA candidate using photos of Narendra Modi for campaign.
Sources in the BJP said the rebels’ act of contesting from Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party harms the national party more than the JD(U). While the party has seemingly patched up with the state’s five-time chief minister, the rebels could erode the voter base of the BJP.
Sources said that by preferring BJP leaders who had been denied nominations by their party, Chirag Paswan had created more of a headache for the BJP than for Nitish Kumar. “Don’t harbour any illusion — those who do not respond to the party’s requests will be immediately expelled,” Sushil Modi said in a direct message to the rebels.
Rajendra Singh, the former BJP in-charge of Jharkhand, the contestant from Dinara, former MLA Usha Vidyarthi who will be contesting from Paliganj and sitting MLA Ravindra Yadav from Jhaja are among such rebels.
Yesterday, following speculation that Chirag Paswan’s move had the tacit support of the BJP, the party issued a clarification. Several politicians of the BJP assured that Nitish Kumar would remain the Chief Minister for the NDA. The BJP is leant to have sent a message to Chirag Paswan too. They told him bluntly he did not have what it took to become the next chief minister of Bihar.
BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal and Sushil Modi turned sterner in their respective messages, saying anyone contesting from NDA would have to accept the leadership of Nitish Kumar. They said action will be taken against any non-NDA candidate seen seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Today, Sanjay Jaiswal threatened to file a police case against the LJP if their candidates used the photos of the Prime Minister, who is the biggest campaigner of the BJP.
Sushil Modi said Chirag Paswan could not have taken such a step in the presence of his father Ram Vilas Paswan, a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Ram Vilas Paswan, 74, underwent a heart surgery last week. He is recuperating in a hospital.
Today, the NDA announced its seat-sharing deal with smaller allies. The BJP has decided to give 11 seats from its share to the VIP. The Janata Dal (United) had already marked seven seats from its share to Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM.