Patna(PTI): Cracks appeared in the NDA on Sunday after the LJP decided to oppose five present and ex-MLAs associated with the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), floated by ex-chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, in the coming Assembly poll for deserting the party after the February, 2005 Bihar poll.
Manjhi took a dim view of the LJP’s position, saying much water had flowed in the state politics in the past one decade. “We will oppose the candidature of the dissident JD(U) MLA and former agriculture minister Narendra Singh’s two MLA sons – Ajay Pratap (Jamui) and Sumit Kumar Singh (Chakai), the disqualified JD(U) MLAs Raju Singh (Sahebganj) and Ajit Kumar (Kanti), besides the JD(U) MLA Anil Kumar (Tekari),” the LJP’s state unit president Pashupati Kumar Paras told reporters.
Sitting on the chair next to party supremo Ramvilas Paswan, Paras said that he had already apprised senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi of its decision to oppose the five HAM (Secular) leaders in the coming election for backstabbing and deserting the LJP after February 2005, Assembly poll in Bihar. “We will put up our candidates against these five present and ex-MLAs if HAM (Secular), led by Manjhi, gives them tickets to contest the poll under the NDA,” he said.
Paswan, who is the Union Food and Consumers Affairs Minister, nodded his head in approval as Paras spoke. He said that of the five HAM leaders being opposed by the LJP, constituencies of two of them (Ajay Pratap and Sumit Singh) were part of Jamui Lok Sabha seat which his son Chirag Paswan represents. As such, he must have a say in candidate selection on on Assembly segments falling under his parliamentary constituecy. Manjhi, however, questioned the justification of the LJP in opposing his colleagues’ candidature in the Assembly poll, saying “much water has flowed in Bihar politics to take such a hardline stand on individuals by any political party”.
LJP’s former state unit chief Narendra Singh had split the party after February, 2005 Bihar Assembly poll, which had produced a hung verdict and walked out with a dozen MLAs to explore formation of an NDA government led by Nitish Kumar. The LJP’s decision to oppose Manjhi’s men came days after hailing the HAM (Secular) for joining the NDA, with Paswan himself saying that it would further boost the BJP-led coalition’s electoral prospects in Bihar and ensure defeat of the secular alliance. Anil Kumar, JD(U) MLA from Tekari Assembly seat in Gaya district, acknowledged that he had been elected on a LJP ticket in February, 2005 Assembly poll before leaving the party following a split in the legislature party.
He argued that he had won the elections on his own equation with the voters and not with popular support base of the LJP. Holding a similar view, Sumit Kumar Singh, who represents Chakai Assembly seat in Jamui district, said he could also not fathom the LJP’s decision to oppose him. Singh said even Paswan had stitched alliances since 2005 as he had joined the RJD-Congress coalition after quitting the NDA earlier.