New Delhi : The BJP has finally made good the loss of its long-standing ally in Nitish Kumar of JD (U). It has weaned Ram Vilas Paswan away from the UPA, thereby wrecking Congress and RJD attempts to broaden the Yadav-Muslim-Dalit platform in Bihar.
Significantly, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party is back in the NDA fold 12 years after it quit the combine over Gujarat riots. This is a big shot in the arm for Narendra Modi as his post-Godhra record is in media spotlight.
Recent opinion polls have indicated a surge for the BJP but the NDA is still expected to fall short of the magic mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha. The re-entry of Paswan may help Modi bridge the gap somewhat. It is a different matter that Paswan had failed to protect even his own seat in the previous election.
Incidentally, Paswan has also come under the CBI scanner in the Bokaro steel mill recruitment case. That expedited his entry into the NDA. The LJP will fight seven out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar under a seat-sharing deal. Paswan has also said that his party will back Narendra Modi as the PM candidate.