The party’s state unit reacted strongly after Mr Paswan gave the statement.
Patna: Amid the political turmoil over leadership in the NDA, Dalit leader and BJP MLC Sanjay Paswan Wednesday said that “the party has the capability to contest and win elections in Bihar on its own”.
Sources said that his statement is likely to create tension in the NDA as the BJP top brass has already announced that the party will contest the Assembly elections in alliance with the JD(U) and chief minister Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA.
In September 2019, Mr Paswan had raised the political pitch by stating that the CM should hand over the reins of the state government to the BJP and move to the Centre.
On Wednesday, Mr Paswan told reporters in Patna, “It’s the people of Bihar who want to see a BJP leader becoming the chief minister.” However, he also clarified that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi will take a final decision regarding the issue but the BJP is a strong party and has the capability to contest and win elections on its own in Bihar.”
Sources said that a section of the BJP led by senior leaders including Mr Paswan has been in favour of promoting firebrand leader Giriraj Singh as the chief ministerial candidate of the NDA in the state.
Mr Paswan’s statement is also crucial because the BJP is part of the state government in Bihar which is being led by the JD(U). Political analysts are of the opinion that in the current scenario where Lalu Yadav is serving a jail term in the fodder scam case, Nitish Kumar has emerged as a stronger leader in Bihar. Nitish Kumar has been the NDA’s face in Bihar since 2005.
The party’s state unit reacted strongly after Mr Paswan gave the statement. Talking to this newspaper, BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “Every decision related to the 2020 Bihar election will be taken collectively by the top leadership of NDA partners after proper consultation in due course. Party president Amit Shah has already said that Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA in Bihar. The statement being given by some leaders in their individual capacity is not the party’s stand.”