Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan on Sunday stepped up his offensive against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, asking people to vote for his party in constituencies where they have put up candidates and for the Bharatiya Janata Party in other places in the upcoming state elections.

“I request you to please vote for LJP candidates to implement #Bihar1stBihari1st,” Paswan tweeted. “Everywhere else vote for the BJP.”

In his tweet, Paswan also asserted that the next state government will be a “Nitish-free” one.

Paswan’s stand holds significance as it can be seen as a clear call to National Democratic Alliance supporters to vote for his party over Kumar’s Janata Dal (United). Of the 138 seats Lok Janshakti Party is contesting, it is pitted against the Janata Dal (United) in 122 of them. Of the remaining seats, Paswan’s party is fighting against Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha in 10 seats and against the BJP in just five.

‘Will send Nitish Kumar to jail if voted to power’

Addressing an election rally in Bihar’s Buxar on Sunday, Paswan also said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be behind bars if his party comes to power in the state, ANI reported. “That chief minister who is corrupt, anti-youth, destroys Bihar, forces youth to get away [from Bihar],” the LJP leader said. “Should such a chief minister stay chief minister? Such a chief minister should be changed or not?”

He also promised to build a Sita Temple in Sitamarhi district of Bihar as part of their “Bihar first Bihari first” vision, according to NDTV. Paswan added that his party would focus on religious tourism to generate revenue for the state.

“Lord Ram is incomplete without Goddess Sita and vice versa,” Paswan said. “So, a corridor connecting Ayodhya’s Ram Temple and Sitamarhi will also be constructed.”

Referring to Kumar’s 2015 poll promises where he made seven commitments to the people of Bihar, Chirag Paswan questioned what should be done to those who have indulged in corruption.

“Chirag Paswan promises to you today...I have written this in my manifesto that in saat nischay, whatever corruption has been done, whether by any official or the chief minister, a probe will be launched once LJP’s government comes into power and those [found guilty] will be sent to jail,” he said.

On October 4, citing “ideological differences”, the Lok Janshakti Party had decided not to contest the elections with Kumar-led Janata Dal (United). However, the party decided to stay as an ally of the BJP at the national level and even support the saffron party’s MLAs during the state elections.

Since then, speculations have been rife on the political equations in the poll-bound state.

The BJP, however, has been emphasising that Kumar will become the chief minister if the alliance is voted to power, irrespective of individual tallies of the parties. Earlier this month, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and the saffron party’s leader Sushil Modi had described Paswan’s party as “vote katuwa”, a term often used in election parlance for parties that do not necessarily win seats but manage to split voters. He had also insisted that his party has no “secret deal” with the Lok Janshakti Party and that the Chirag Paswan-led outfit is not a part of the National Democratic Alliance in the state.

Assembly elections in Bihar will be held in three phases between October 28 and November 7. The results will be declared on November 10.