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NDA will win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, I will fight from Hajipur: Chirag Paswan

New Delhi: Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan said on Tuesday his party has joined the National Democratic Alliance following a positive discussion with the BJP over his “concerns” and asserted the ruling combine will win all 40 seats in Bihar in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

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While declining to share details of his talks with BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda, he asserted that his concerns related to Lok Sabha and Bihar assembly polls have been addressed positively by them.

Addressing a press conference, Paswan, however, made it clear that he will contest from Hajipur, a Lok Sabha seat currently represented by his estranged uncle and Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras who, in turn, reiterated his claim on the constituency.

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Paswan’s assertion about the BJP addressing his concerns is significant as his main demand was that the ruling party stick to the same seat-sharing arrangement as in 2019 when the undivided LJP under his late father Ram Vilas Paswan had contested on six Lok Sabha constituencies and was given a Rajya Sabha seat as well.

“It will be against coalition dharma for me to speak about the details of my discussions with BJP leaders. But yes, my party’s concerns about Lok Sabha and assembly polls were part of the deliberations and they have been addressed positively by the BJP,” he said.

Paswan added that his party will be part of the BJP-led NDA in the 2025 Bihar assembly polls as well.

Soon after, Paras made light of Paswan’s comments, saying seat-sharing issues are not discussed this long before polls and asserted his claim over the Hajipur seat.

His elder brother Ram Vilas Paswan had chosen him as his political heir and asked him to contest from the seat, he said.

Paras said Union minister Nityanad Rai, who had met Paswan a few times during the talks between the two parties, had met him advocating rapprochement in the family. He, however, ruled out any such probability.

He also professed his loyalty to the BJP while adding that he has no issues that his nephew has joined the NDA again.

With the BJP clearly acknowledging Chirag Paswan’s political strength among the voters loyal to his father, it remains to be seen how the party deals with Paras as it will be wary of sending out any negative message about its handling of allies at a time it is making all-out efforts to expand the NDA.

Asked if he will be joining the Union Council of Ministers, Paswan said he is not much concerned about this as polls are anyway only about eight months away. This is anyway a prerogative of the prime minister, he said.

To a question about the chances of his reconciliation with his uncle, Paswan said Paras is like a father to him but mentioned his sharp comments about him in public.

Paswan also maintained his strong criticism of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Asked about his stand on the likelihood of the JD(U) leader again joining hands with the BJP, he said leaders like Shah have already ruled out such a possibility. Still, if such a development occurs, his party will then deliberate on its stand, he added.

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