New Delhi: The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is holding a crucial meeting of its Bihar leaders on Monday to decide whether to fight against the JD(U) in the upcoming state assembly polls amid worsening ties between the two members of the ruling NDA.

The LJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-headed JD(U) have been sniping at each other for months. Kumar’s decision to join hands with former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, a Dalit leader like the Paswans with a history of targeting the LJP, has further soured their ties.

While aiming at Kumar, Chirag Paswan has refrained from attacking the BJP and has even been lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

One of the options that Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s party, now headed by his son Chirag Paswan, may consider is to remain a part of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre but to fight outside its fold in the state, while not contesting against the saffron party, sources said.

It may be noted that the LJP had in February 2005 fought against the RJD in the Bihar assembly polls, even though both regional parties were part of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. The LJP put up candidates against the RJD while maintaining its ties with the Congress.

This had led to the formation of a hung assembly in the state, ending Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD’s 15-year rule, and another assembly poll held a few months later saw the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) and BJP alliance storming to power with their maiden majority.

While BJP leaders, including its national president J P Nadda, have been insisting that all three NDA parties will fight the upcoming polls together, sources said a sense of unease has crept in, with Kumar working to strengthen his position by actively wooing leaders from the RJD and tying up with Manjhi.

The JD(U) has also made it clear that it will not hold any seat-sharing talks with the LJP, as its ties have been traditionally with the BJP.

The Election Commission is likely to announce the schedule for the Bihar polls sometime this month. Polls to the 243-seat assembly are likely to be held in October-November.

Source : PTI