Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hinted that the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party is not a part of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar, where the first phase of Assembly elections is underway. However, he did not categorically state it.

Addressing an election rally in Bihar’s Darbhanga city, Modi urged voters to support National Democratic Alliance candidates. “NDA in Bihar includes BJP, Janata Dal (United), Vikassheel Insaan Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha,” the prime minister said, without naming Paswan’s party.

Speculations have been rife in Bihar over the Lok Janashakti Party’s equation with the BJP, since Paswan decided on October 4 not to contest the elections with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), citing ideological differences. While a number of BJP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi have denied any links with Paswan, the prime minister has so far refrained from any direct statement on the matter.

PM Modi speaks on Ayodhya, ‘jungle raj’

The prime minister touched upon the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, drawing a reference to the Mithila region, where Darbhanga is situated and is believed to be the birthplace of Sita.

“I am happy to be here, in the birth place of Mother Sita. Construction of temple at Ayodhya has also begun. Our opponents who used to taunt us about the date for commencement of construction have now been forced to clap in applause,” he said.

PM Modi referred to Kumar, who was also present on the stage, as the “bhaavi mukhyamantri” (prospective CM). He also claimed that the people of Bihar have decided to defeat those who were responsible for “jungle raj” in the state.

Speaking at another rally in the north Bihar city of Muzaffarpur, the prime minister termed Rashriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav as “jungle raj ka yuvraj” (heir of jungle raj).

“People of Bihar will keep in mind the past track record while voting and so what even can they expect from jungle raj ka yuvraj,” he said. He said that the fight to defeat the Opposition in Bihar is as important as the one against the Covid-19 pandemic. “Bihar elections an opportunity to re-elect those who pulled state out of darkness,” he said.

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