Chirag Paswan meets Shah, Nadda; returns to NDA

"I welcome him to the NDA family," says Nadda

BJP National President JP Nadda and LJP (Ramvilas) Chief Chirag Paswan during a meeting, in New Delhi | PTI BJP National President JP Nadda and LJP (Ramvilas) Chief Chirag Paswan during a meeting, in New Delhi | PTI

Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan has decided to return to the NDA, BJP chief J P Nadda announced on Monday, hours after Paswan met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, a day before the crucial meeting of the ruling coalition.

"I met Chirag Paswanji in Delhi. He has decided to join the NDA alliance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership. I welcome him to the NDA family," Nadda said on Twitter and posted photographs of his meeting with Paswan.

Paswan had been in talks with the BJP for finalising his party's share of Lok Sabha seats in Bihar for 2024 and the meeting is being seen as part of that exercise.

"Had a positive discussion with the country's Home Minister respected Shri Amit Shah in New Delhi on issues related to the alliance," Paswan said in a tweet after meeting Shah.

Later, Shah said in a tweet that he and Paswan had an extensive discussion about Bihar politics.

Union minister Nityanand Rai, a senior BJP leader from Bihar, had earlier met Paswan twice.

The undivided LJP under late stalwart Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag's father, had contested six Lok Sabha seats in 2019 and also received a Rajya Sabha seat as part of its seat-sharing deal with the BJP.

The young leader wants the BJP to stick to the same arrangement despite a division in his party, with another faction, Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, headed by his uncle and Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras already a part of the ruling alliance.

Chirag Paswan has emphasised on clarity from the BJP about his share of Lok Sabha and also assembly seats in Bihar before formalising their alliance, sources in the LJP (R) said.

He also wants the BJP to concede to him the Hajipur Lok Sabha seat, a pocket borough of his father for decades but currently represented by Paras in Parliament. His uncle has also staked claim to the seat, asserting that he and not Chirag is the late leader's political heir.

The BJP has also been working to bring about a rapprochement between the two sides, with Rai meeting the Union minister as well.

Even though Paras got the support of all other four MPs of the party besides Paswan, his nephew is seen to have largely succeeded in inheriting the support of the vote bank loyal to his father.

Since the split with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), the BJP has been keen to bring Paswan back to its side as it works to bolster its strength in the politically crucial state.

Paswan had walked out of the NDA during the 2020 assembly polls in the state due to his opposition to Kumar, then a BJP ally. He has, however, been supportive of the BJP on key issues. 

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