Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Union minister Sanjay Paswan has made an appeal to his party to “gather the strength to walk alone in Bihar”, while talking exclusively to The Sunday Guardian. His statement seems to confirm reports that the BJP-JDU alliance is not sailing smoothly and a section of leaders in the BJP want to contest next year’s Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly elections due in 2020 without ally JDU.
Paswan, a member of the BJP national executive and a prominent Scheduled Caste face of the party, claimed that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had “lost his aura” and was becoming a liability for the national party.
He told this reporter that the BJP would lose a substantial number of votes in the forthcoming elections if it did not leave the company of Nitish Kumar.
“He is no longer a ‘susasan’ babu, but has become synonymous with ‘dusasan’ (incompetence). He has become a big liability but despite knowing this, some of our party leaders are sticking with him for individual gains. These leaders are with him for temporary benefits and are not looking at the damage that the party will face because of allying with him in the long run. We should not be with him,” Paswan said.
Even though Paswan is the first one to openly say that the BJP should go it alone in Bihar, a large section of the party leaders have been voicing similar thoughts privately.
The Sunday Guardian did a report last year (BJP in Bihar unhappy being younger brother to JDU, 23 December), detailing how a section of the state BJP leaders wanted to fight the elections alone.
Paswan said that sticking with Nitish Kumar was the reason why the party was losing its voter base.
“Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is becoming stronger and unless and until we stop him by catering to our philosophy and communicating that to the voters, we will not get a good result in future elections. It is due to CM Nitish’s policies that we lost our valuable ally Jitan Manjhi and we are about to lose another ally, Upendra Kushwaha. Nitish Kumar’s casteist thinking is damaging us,” he said.
Other party leaders, who chose to remain in the background but supported the stand of Paswan, said that the call to end the alliance with the JDU will grow stronger once the results of the Araria bypolls and the Bhabhua, Jahanabad seats are declared on Wednesday.