In a significant development, former Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan dropped hints on Sunday about joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). This revelation comes after Chirag actively campaigned for the BJP during the recent by-polls in Bihar.
During a meeting of Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), a faction formed by his late father Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag was "authorized" to make a decision regarding the party's potential inclusion in "any alliance."
Coinciding with the meeting, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nityanand Rai paid a visit to Chirag's residence, referring to the Paswan household as "my second home." Rai refrained from discussing an alliance with Chirag explicitly but emphasized the shared values between the BJP and late Ram Vilas Paswan, which aim to serve and bring happiness to the people.
When asked about the possibility of joining the NDA, Chirag stated, "It will be against the 'maryada' (decorum) of a coalition for me to make any announcement before them. The alliance (NDA) is likely to hold another round of talks before making up its mind."
While Chirag's affinity for the BJP and admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi are well-known, there exists a family divide. Chirag's uncle, Pashupati Kumar Paras, led a revolt following his father's demise, resulting in a split within the LJP. Paras currently serves as a minister in the Union cabinet. Both Chirag and Paras have repeatedly stated their unwillingness to be part of any coalition that includes the other.
Although Chirag did not make any fresh statements about his uncle during the recent developments, he made it clear that his party would "without any doubt" contest the Lok Sabha polls from Hajipur—a seat his father nurtured over multiple terms and is currently held by his uncle.
Regarding the possibility of a ministerial berth, Chirag emphasized that his decision to join a coalition would be influenced more by the prospects in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls rather than a ministerial position.
Chirag had revolted against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the 2020 assembly polls, fielding candidates against the Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)], which resulted in a significant decline in their seat tally. Despite contesting the elections in alliance with the JD(U), the BJP was accused of supporting Chirag, who had fielded several rebel candidates from the saffron party. Many of these rebels, earlier expelled by the BJP for "violating coalition dharma," have now been welcomed back into the party. The JD(U) subsequently exited the NDA last year, leading to a loss of power for the alliance.
After the split within the LJP, Chirag, who seemed isolated, was courted by the BJP during the by-elections for three assembly segments in Bihar, following the formation of the 'Mahagathbandhan' government. Chirag's intensive campaigning played a significant role in the BJP's victory in two of those seats.