PATNA: Persuasions from the BJP president JP Nadda to party leaders from Bihar failed on Wednesday as at least five senior leaders deserted the saffron party and joined Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by Chirag Paswan. All of them were agitated because of handing over BJP constituencies to JD(U) in the seat-sharing arrangement.
On Wednesday morning, Nadda telephoned Rameshwar Chaurasiya, a former MLA from Nokha and member of the national executive, and persuaded him against leaving BJP. However, Chaurasiya was not satisfied and deserted the party and immediately joined LJP. He announced his decision to contest the elections on LJP symbol. Chaurasiya was secretary in-charge for UP and also looked after Banaras, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Another senior BJP leader Usha Vidyarthi joined LJP, in presence of LJP chief Chirag Paswan, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra chief minister and election in-charge of BJP for Bihar, Devendra Fadnavis, on Wednesday evening warned the leaders with expulsions. He said, "They will be persuaded not to leave us, but if they insist, they would be expelled from the party and NDA."
As the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) announced to contest Bihar assembly election against BJP ally JD(U), several senior leaders of the saffron party are lining up to join the Chirag Paswan-led outfit seeking poll ticket.
A number of senior BJP leaders, including two sitting MLAs, joined the LJP on Wednesday. They are likely to contest the election on the LJP symbol from Dinara, Sasaram, Paliganj, Jhajha, and Govindganj. All these seats have gone to the JD(U) under seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP.
Chaurasiya ignored Fadnavis' warning and said he would be contesting from Nokha, his traditional constituency. JDU has given the seat to industries minister Jaikumar Singh.
Vidyarthi is a senior BJP leader who was a member of Bihar State Women Commision. She quit the commission as well as the party before joining the LJP.
Speaking to this correspondent, Vidyarthi said she would file nomination papers from Paliganj constitutency on Thursday. She was earlier a BJP MLA from Paliganj. She is a follower of the founding father of Jansangh in Bihar Kailashpati Mishra.
This comes a day after another senior BJP leader from the state Rajendra Singh joined Paswan's party. Singh is a veteran BJP leader and was associated with the RSS for a long time. Singh is a senior RSS leader and was general secretary in-charge for Jharkhand before being appointed vice-president of the state BJP. He was considered CM candidate of BJP in 2015 elections.
RSS leaders at Vijay Niketan here were upset over denial of nomination to Singh and Chaurasiya, both RSS veterans.
Sitting BJP MLA , Rabindra Yadav, who was denied renomination quit membership of BJP, joined LJP and filed papers from Jhajha. Yadav said he was happy to leave BJP and join LJP as he admired the leadership of Chirag Paswan. JDU has got Jhajha under the seat-sharing agreement.
Five term MLA from Sasaram, and another RSS stalwart, Jawahar Prasad too has been denied renomination by BJP. He has also opted for LJP. Prasad was elected to the state assembly from Sasaram in February 2005, November 2005 and 2010. He was a member of state assembly since 1990.
Announcing his exit from the NDA in Bihar, president Chirag Paswan had earlier come out strongly against JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar but claimed that he was not against the BJP.
The BJP, on the other hand, has asserted that it will contest the elections under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and he will be the chief minister even if the saffron party wins more seats.
As per the seat-sharing formula for Bihar assembly polls, the JD(U) will contest on 122 seats and BJP 121 out of a total of 243 seats.
The three-phase Bihar polls will start on October 28. The counting of votes will be held on November 10.