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Bihar: Chirag Paswan’s loss is Nitish Kumar’s gain

NEW DELHI: At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior ministers, and BJP chief JP Nadda are busy reviewing the ministry’s performance, the rebellion within the LJP is a shot in the arm for the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar strengthening the JD (U), and providing negotiating depth within the NDA for Cabinet expansion at the Centre.

Paras, the younger brother of LJP founder and former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, is widely regarded as close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. While the Bihar verdict last year placed the JD (U) in third place, the NDA’s allies, Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) and Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM), have been making statements that have made the chief minister nervous. Although the LJP makes no numerical changes in the Bihar Assembly equations, the five MPs block of the LJP expressing their full support for Nitish Kumar may make the chief minister consider weaning legislators from the opposition camps in the coming days.

The BJP was forced to publicly condemn the LJP after Chirag Paswan ran a bitter campaign against the Bihar chief minister during the 2020 Assembly elections. Even as the BJP avoided clarifying the position, the JD (U) was adamant that the LJP was not a part of the NDA. Unlike in 2019, when then-BJP chief Amit Shah offered the JD (U) one Cabinet berth, the LJP removing Chirag Paswan and expressing full support for Nitish Kumar may help him negotiate hard during the Union Council of ministers expansion.

With the BJP’s Bihar unit lacking a credible local face and the party relying on the Prime Minister’s appeal, political observers believe Nitish Kumar will gain an advantage in his dealings with the saffron outfit in the coming months.


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