However, the LJP’s vote share may slide further, as its limited pocket of influence has been continuously eroding.
New Delhi: The Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), which is contesting on 137 seats in Bihar, is counting on its party candidates winning on their seats in their individual capacity and the BJP and the RJD falling just short of the majority when the results of the elections are declared on 10 November.
This calculation, according to LJP party strategists, will put its party chief Chirag Paswan in the position of kingmaker in the state where the results are likely to come down to a difference of less than 20-30 seats between the RJD-led Grand Alliance, on the one hand, and the BJP-led NDA, on the other.
Paswan, who is very well aware of the limited acceptability of his party among the voters and the vote grabbing capacity of its party, is expecting to win 7-10 seats and play a deciding role in who will be the next Chief Minister of the state. LJP›s vote share, which came down from the peak of 12% in 2005 to less than 5% in 2015, is likely to suffer a further slide as its limited pocket of influence has been continuously eroding.
According to observers across the BJP, RSS and the JDU, whom The Sunday Guardian spoke to, the recent death of Chirag Paswan’s father, Ram Vilas Paswan, though it has generated emotional gains for Chirag Paswan, is not going to transform into votes for the party.
“LJP, at the best of its day, was a fringe player. Most of the candidates who are going to win on LJP ticket will be those who have joined the party from the BJP. In the Dinara seat (where former RSS men Rajendra Singh is contesting on a LJP ticket) is in a good position because a strong segment from our own party, including workers, are helping him. That is the case in a few other seats. They are doing well not because of the LJP ticket, but because of their own goodwill and following,” a Patna-based BJP party functionary, who is managing the party’s poll campaign, said.
Though Chirag Paswan had earlier announced that he was prepared to contest on all the 243 seats and that he had already shortlisted candidates for all the constituencies, the reality, according to party insiders, is that very few “serious and winnable” candidates had sought tickets from the LJP.
“The LJP is a one family party, which depended on Ram Vilas Paswan for staying relevant. Someone like Surajbhan, who is the only other significant face of the party, won multiple times from the LJP, but he would have won from any party ticket due to his money and muscle power. The LJP has no organisation, cadre. It might be able to hold on the votes that it got in 2015 because of the goodwill for Ram Vilas Paswan, but apart from that, I don’t think there will be anything else to write about it on the day results are announced,” a Hajipur lawyer, who was associated with the party for a long period of time, he said.