New Delhi: After days of negotiations, speculations, denials and meetings, Paswan late on Thursday evening met BJP president Rajnath Singh to formally ink the deal At a joint press conference of the BJP and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Rajnath Singh announced the alliance between the two parties for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Twelve years after exiting the National Democratic Alliance following the 2002 Gujarat riots, Ram Vilas Paswan is back in the saffron front to support Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate.
A beaming BJP President made the announcement at a news conference at his residence after a round of hectic parleys by the leaders of the two parties on seat-sharing in Bihar. Singh said the BJP will contest the remaining 30 seats in the state.
LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan has decided to join the NDA and as party President I welcome this decision. I have complete faith that this alliance between the BJP and the LJP will benefit NDA not only in Bihar but also in other states in the country, he said.
In 2002, when Paswan moved out of the BJP led alliance, he was a different man. He had resigned from the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and had helped the Congress in stitching the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) with RJD Chief Lalu Yadav.
But having lost the last two elections in the state, his party was also decimated in the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 when RJD-LJP alliance left Congress in a lurch to fight alone in Bihar. While, this time too, he was initially willing to strike a deal with RJD and Congress, he was being offered not more than 5 out of 40 seats in Bihar.
Though there was tension between the LJP and RJD, we always maintained our support for RJD,” Paswan said. The LJP will now contest from 7 seats in Bihar and 3 seats are being left for another backward Koeri leader Upendra Kushwaha.
The announcement on Thursday was a low key affair. Despite being in Delhi, Modi stayed away from the flashes as the announcement was being made. Paswan will meet party patriarch LK Advani and Modi in the next few days. The LJP supremo will also share the dais with Modi at the latter’s rally on March 3 in Muzaffarpur in Bihar.