BJP tells Chirag Paswan’s LJP not to use PM’s photo in poll campaign

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has objected to the Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) bid to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pictures during the campaigning for the upcoming three-phase Bihar assembly elections in a bid to show solidarity and downplay the vituperative jibes of the LJP’s national president Chirag Paswan against Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (U) chief Nitish Kumar.

The BJP is likely to move the Election Commission of India (ECI), urging the latter to prevent the LJP from using PM Modi’s name during poll campaigning.

A top BJP functionary said that a letter to this effect could be given to the EC. “The BJP is opposed to the use of PM Modi’s picture or his speeches during campaigning since the LJP is no longer in alliance,” said a BJP leader, requesting anonymity.

The matter came up for discussion during the meeting between BJP leaders and CM Kumar on Tuesday afternoon.

JD (U) sources said that the party had also raised the matter with the BJP top brass earlier as well.

BJP leaders said that the party had clarified that the NDA would contest the polls under the leadership of Kumar. “In line with the principles of coalition politics, the party is ensuring that the JD (U) doesn’t face embarrassment during electioneering,” said a BJP leader.

“There is strong resentment in the party over the LJP’s stance. Union Minister for Home Affairs and former BJP national president Amit Shah had announced Kumar’s name last year itself as Bihar’s chief ministerial candidate,” he added.

The BJP has also asserted that only the alliance partners in the NDA would be allowed to refer to the Central schemes and policies of the Modi government during campaigning, said persons aware of the details.

The BJP’s hardening of the stand follows after Chirag’s out-of-turn announcement. He had said that Bihar would have a BJP-LJP government after the elections and also urged the electorate not to waste even a single vote by backing the JD (U) candidates.

On Monday, Chirag wrote an open letter to the voters again and “attacked the Kumar government’s ‘seven resolves’ developmental programme, JD (U)’s approach towards its allies and the overpowering influence of the bureaucracy”.

The LJP had cited “state-level ideological differences”, as the primary reason to go solo in the assembly polls. The party had stated that it wanted to implement the Bihar vision document over which it is at odds with the JD (U). “However, we have a strong alliance with the BJP at the Centre and even in Bihar we want to continue this collaboration. There is no sourness in our ties,” the LJP had said.

A section of JD (U) leaders on Monday demanded the removal of LJP from the NDA and Ram Vilas Paswan, who is the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, be dropped from the Modi cabinet.

The elections for the 243-member Bihar assembly will be held on October 28 and November 3 and 7.

The results will be declared on November 10.

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