Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will not contest the state elections in Bihar with Nitish Kumar's JDU, the party announced this evening soon after a meeting in Delhi.
A key BJP ally, the party will field candidates against Nitish Kumar's JDU; however, the LJP-BJP collaboration will continue, it has said. "Due to the ideological differences at the state-level with the JDU, the LJP has decided to fight the assembly elections separately," LJP's Abdul Khaliq said in a statement, stressing on the party's motto- 'Bihar first-Bihari first'.
"There can be difference of ideologies on many seats with the JDU... voters should be able to decide who they want as their candidate. The LJP wants to implement the Bihar vision document and the two parties have not been able to reach a consensus on it," the official statement by the party underlined.
Suggesting that ties with the BJP remain intact even as it parts ways with Nitish Kumar's JDU, the party stressed: "However, we have a strong alliance with the BJP and even in Bihar, we want to continue this collaboration. There is no sourness in our relations. After the state elections, all the candidates who win will form a BJP-LJP government and follow the path of progress shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
Several party leaders attended the meeting where Chirag Paswan was also present. Veena Devi, Chandan Singh, Surajbhan Singh, Raju Tiwari, Prince Raj, Kali Pandey, and Abdul Khalid, among other party leaders were present.
The meeting, which was to be held on Saturday, was postponed after Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan's father, was hospitalised. He underwent a heart surgery last night at a hospital in Delhi, Chirag Paswan said in a tweet this morning.
Prime Minster Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah called up Chirag Paswan to enquire about his father's health and told him that once his father recovers, "he will be proud of how well his son looked after him".
On Saturday, Chirag Paswan "sought people's blessings" for his party's "Bihar first Bihari first" vision document.
In a statement, he heaped praise on PM Modi and said all his party's candidates will strengthen the BJP leader's hand.
"It is not only my hope but confidence that you will bless me to make Bihar first and restore its pride so that all my candidates could strengthen the hands of the prime minister," he posted a message on Twitter with a picture of PM Modi talking to him and keeping his hand on Mr Paswan's shoulders.
The BJP's relationship status with the Paswans was complicated over the past few months because of a feud between Nitish Kumar and Chirag Paswan.
Bihar will vote on October 28, November 3 and 7 for a new government and the results will be announced on November 10.