Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: In a major fillip to the BJP’s ambition to win majority of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, party president Rajnath Singh on Thursday announced the return of Lok Janshakti Pary (LJP) into the NDA fold.
Addressing a joint press conference with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, Rajnath Singh said, “The process of expansion of NDA has begun; Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan has decided that his party will be part of the NDA. We have finalized seat sharing, I am confident that the alliance will help the NDA in Bihar.”
“After the entry of Ramdas Athavale’s RPI in the NDA and Dalit leader Udit Raj joining the BJP, now LJP has also joined, reasserting the fact that only the NDA can take the country out of the troubled times it is in,”
Highlighting the growing acceptability of Narendra Modi, Singh said, “The fact that important Dalit leaders are gravitating towards the NDA implies that everybody wants Narendra Modi as the prime minister of the country.”
The BJP president announced that LJP will contest from seven seats in Bihar.
A beaming Paswan also spoke on the occasion. He said, “Thanks to the efforts being put by Rajnath Singh and his team, the NDA is growing and I have no doubt that it will come to power.”
Paswan said ‘Narendra Modi as PM’ was a non-issue as the NDA has already endorsed him as its PM candidate and now LJP is part of the NDA.
On his equation with the BJP, he said, “We were part of the family earlier so it is nothing new for me.”
Ram Vilas Paswan was earlier in the NDA during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He left the NDA in the wake of the Gujarat riots in 2002.
The LJP was also part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance from 2004 to 2009.