BJP reaches out to Paswans: Amit Shah, Jaitley meet LJP leaders

Amid speculation about alliance making in Bihar, Union Food Minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his lawmaker son Chirag Paswan held a meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday evening.

Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav also met Jamui MP Chirag Paswan. The LJP, which claims to enjoy god support base among Dalits in Bihar, is mounting pressure on the BJP for finalisation of the seat adjustments for 40 parliamentary polls in Bihar for Lok Sabha polls.

The developments coincide with the Congress and other political stake holders in Bihar – RLSP, RJD and HAM announcing the ‘Mahagatbandhan’ for the state. For his part, Mr Paswan has tried to downplay the possible rift between BJP and LJP.

“There is no animosity, whatever is our decision, will be taken by Chirag. But everything is fine in NDA,” said Union Food Minister. He also piloted the Consumer Protection in the Lok Sabha on Thursday afternoon and got the nod of the Lower House.

Sources said, LJP was promised one Rajya Sabha seat by the BJP and apparently things have been derailed after Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) came back to the NDA fold. In the meantime, RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha has quit NDA, the council of ministry and already joined hands with the baiters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sources said after Upendra Kushwaha quit NDA, the BJP leaders told LJP that instead of four Lok Sabha seats in 2019, the party could contest in six seats. But LJP sources said, there was “still a gap” about the offer of Rajya Sabha seat.

Junior Paswan – Chirag, who is chairman of LJP Parliamentary party – has on Thursday flayed NDA regime and in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley questioned what were the ‘advantages of demonetisation’ in 2016.

The move is seen as a pressure tactics on Mr Jaitley, who shares a good rapport with JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Earlier on December 18, Mr Chirag Paswan tweeted: “We have discussed the seat-sharing issue with BJP leaders many times but failed to reach an agreement. If this issue is not settled on time, it could also lead to ‘nuksaan’ (damage to the alliance)”.Sources also said JD(U) stalwart Mr Nitish Kumar will be in capital on Friday for discussions on  seat adjustments in Bihar.