Nitish Kumar and Pashupati Kumar Paras.
PATNA: At least two Bihar-centric political parties have decided to try their luck in the forthcoming assembly polls in Manipur, scheduled to vote in two phases on February 27 and March 3 this year.
While Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has decided to field its candidates in around 15 assembly constituencies, out of total 60 in Manipur; Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras-led Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP) is planning to field its candidates from those six constituencies where the erstwhile LJP’s candidates had performed well in the last assembly polls in 2017.
In 1917 polls, the erstwhile LJP’s Karam Shyam had won Langthabal seat and also became a cabinet minister while its other five candidates had performed well in Saikot, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa, Bishunpur, Wangkhem and Nungba constituencies. The JD(U), as part of a policy decision, had not contested the 2017 assembly polls in Manipur.
After a split in the erstwhile LJP at the national level, majority of the party leaders in Manipur went with the Paras-led RLJP. Paras is younger brother of Ram Vilas Paswan.
RLJP national spokesperson Sharvan Kumar Agrawal on Friday said our party president and Union minister Paras had visited Manipur in the last week of December to take stock of the political scenario in the northeast state in the wake of the coming assembly polls there.
“After holding a series of discussions with the leaders of the Manipur state unit, the RLJP has decided to contest the current election. But our first priority will be to contest the election as part of the NDA. If the NDA fails to accommodate the RLJP in the seat-sharing, the party may decide to contest alone. Final decision will be taken by the party’s national president Paras,” RLJP national spokesperson Sharvan Kumar Agrawal told TOI on Friday.
Agrawal also said in 1917 Manipur polls the erstwhile LJP, then led by Late Ram Vilas Paswan, had fielded its candidates from 17 seats. Nominations of three candidates did not materialize due to different reasons. Thus, the rest 14 candidates contested on the LJP symbol. The party performed well in at least six constituencies.
Sources in the JD(U) said the party is planning to field its candidates in at least 15 constituencies. “We have decided to focus mainly on those seats where we have chances to win the elections,” JD(U) national general secretary and party’s northeast In-charge Afaque Ahmad Khan told TOI over phone.
Khan said JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and other central leaders visited Manipur in December and held a mega rally to strengthen the party’s support base in the northeast state.