LJP to contest all seats in West Bengal, Assam in upcoming elections

PATNA: Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party on Monday received yet another setback when its lone member in the Bihar legislative council, married to a BJP minister in the state, crossed over to her husbands party.

Nutan Singh, whose husband Neeraj Kumar Singh alias Bablu was inducted into the state cabinet earlier this month, joined the saffron party in presence of her husband and state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal.

“My husband has been with the BJP. I thought it would be proper if both of us work together for the progress of the state”, the MLC, whose tenure expires in July this year, told reporters on the occasion.

The LJP, which has in the past few months gone all out against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his JD(U), much to the embarrassment of the BJP which shares power, refrained from commenting though a party functionary said on condition of anonymity “she was previously with the BJP.”

“Her husband has been with that party all through. So the development comes as no surprise”.

Singh was elected from the local bodies quota as a nominee of the LJP in 2015 when the LJP was headed by its late founder Ram Vilas Paswan and Kumar was out of the NDA, finalising a tie-up with arch rival Lalu Prasad and the Congress which met with electoral success, but was short- lived.

Chirag, who pulled out of the NDA ahead of the assembly elections, has been claiming unflinching loyalty towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Nonetheless, the JD(U) which bore the brunt of his rebellion, has been insistent that the BJP distance itself sufficiently from the LJP.

The LJP had fielded its candidates in all seats contested by the JD(U).

In many places, Chirag Paswans party had given tickets to BJP rebels.

Prominent among them was three-term former MLA Rameshwar Chaurasia who quit the LJP last week.

This was followed by the JD(U)s claim that it has won over more than 200 middle and lower rank LJP leaders.

The LJP has, however, come out with the counter claim that many of its “so-called former members” were never with the party and the JD(U) was resorting to “fraud” in a bid to brush under the carpet its diminished numerical strength.

The JD(U)s tally in the assembly, in the elections held recently, plummeted to 43 from 71 five years ago.

Nitish Kumar, its de facto leader, has returned as Chief Minister but the party is mortified by having ceded the upper hand to the BJP.

The LJP has only one MLA in the 243-member Bihar House.