Don’t give tickets to JD-U rebels, LJP tells BJP

Patna: The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has asked the BJP not to give tickets to rebel JD-U legislators who have joined the saffron party or those planning to contest the coming assembly elections as Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) candidates.

LJP parliamentary board chairman Chirag Paswan, son of LJP chief and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, has apprised the BJP about his party’s demand not to give tickets to those who deserted the LJP in the past.

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“Chirag Paswan has told BJP chief Amit Shah to keep such leaders out of the National Democratic Alliance and not give them tickets to contest the assembly polls either as candidates of the BJP or its allies,” a senior LJP leader said here on Saturday.

The LJP has strong reservations about former parliamentarian Sabir Ali, who joined the BJP, and former minister Narendra Singh and his two sons, considered close to former chief minister and HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi.

“The LJP has informed the BJP’s top leadership that Narendra Singh and his two sons should not contest polls as NDA candidates as they plan to contest on HAM tickets,” the LJP leader said.

Earlier, LJP state president Pasupati Kumar Paras, the younger brother of Ram Vilas Paswan, vowed to oppose the candidature of rebel Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislators, including Narendra Singh and his sons Ajay Pratap and Sumit Kumar Singh, Raju Singh, Ajit Kumar and Anil Kumar.

Paras had warned the BJP that the LJP would put up its own candidates against these leaders since some of them deserted the LJP in the past.

Early this week, BJP allies LJP and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) gave an ultimatum to the BJP to finalise seat-sharing arrangement within a week.

BJP MP Ashwani Kumar Choubey thereafter said that the party would contest 170 of the 243 seats.

Choubey’s statement came in the wake of LJP and RLSP leaders’ statement that the BJP should contest only 102 seats and leave the remaining 141 for its three allies.

BJP president Amit Shah, who discussed seat-sharing with party colleagues from Bihar, announced earlier this year that his party wanted to contest and win 185 seats.

On the other hand, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the JD-U have decided to contest 100 seats each, leaving 40 to the Congress and three to the Nationalist Congress Party.

Interestingly, JD-U and RJD are happy over the differences in the BJP-led NDA over the seat-sharing.