Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

With voting underway for the first phase of the Bihar Assembly elections, political parties have reached a crucial stage of the campaign. While heavyweights such as Prime Minister Modi and Rahul Gandhi are slated to address rallies in different parts of Bihar, the votes polled today could very well turn out to be crucial in determining who assumes the mantle of Chief Minister for the next few years.

There are over a thousand candidates in the fray for the first leg of the election alone. Add to that, the fact that pre-poll alliances could potentially be amended depending on the outcome of voting, and one finds it difficult to predict who exactly would form the next Bihar government. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan however appears to be convinced that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will break away from the JD(U)'s alliance with the NDA.

Paswan, in his latest scathing attack against Kumar, had alleged that the Chief Minister will leave the BJP and go on to join the RJD after the poll results. This latest criticism comes mere hours after Paswan hit out at the JD(U) over a leaked video.

The clip in question seems akin to a blooper reel, where Paswan can be seen trying to record a video while standing next to a portrait of late Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. The LJP leader can be heard talking about how everyone had "different hair textures", fudging up his lines and discussing camera details. Many have since slammed the video, alleging that Paswan was "faking" his grief, or that he did not appear to be suitably mournful.

While Paswan has on multiple occasions avowed his fondness and loyalty to Prime Minister Modi, he is not contesting as an ally to the NDA. The LJP leader has repeatedly hit out at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, even using 'NitishMuktBihar' as a hashtag on occasion. While the party has taken on BJP contestants, it has fielded candidates against many JD(U) leaders. Paswan appears to be aiming for a BJP-LJP alliance.

"Bihar was infamous for the first 15 years. Bihar is in bad condition in second 15 years. But now with all your blessings, we have to make Bihari First and Nitish-free government. LJP is contesting more seats than Nitish Kumar. BJP-LJP government will be formed after winning more seats than Nitish Kumar," he tweeted on Wednesday.

In the first phase of the elections, Bihar is voting for 71 constituencies, out of a total of 243 seats. The next phase of the election will be held on November 3.

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