Bharatiya Janata Party president JP Nadda invited Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Majhi and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan for a National Democratic Alliance meeting on July 18, reported ANI.
On June 21, Manjhi had joined the BJP-led alliance, a week after his son and Hindustani Awam Morcha leader Santosh Suman resigned as a minister in the Bihar government. Suman had accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of putting pressure on the Hindustani Awam Morcha to merge with the Janata Dal (United), according to The Hindu.
Nadda’s invitation to Paswan comes over two years after the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) had left the National Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2020 state Assembly polls. Paswan had campaigned against Kumar, who was at the time a BJP ally.
The Janata Dal (United) alliance with the BJP fell through in August last year. Kumar was elected as the leader of the Grand Alliance which includes the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
The upcoming National Democratic Alliance meeting is seen as a show of strength by the BJP in response to the Opposition’s concerted efforts to form an alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Fifteen Opposition parties had held a meeting in Patna to formulate a strategy to take on the BJP on June 23. The second meeting of the Opposition will take place in Bengaluru on July 17.
However, since the last Opposition meet, veteran leader Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party witnessed after his nephew Ajit Pawar allied with the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government in Maharashtra.
The Aam Aadmi Party has, on its part, said that it will decide on attending the second meeting only after the Congress makes its stand clear on the Centre’s ordinance that wrested control of administrative services from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government.