Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan is likely to attend the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance meeting on July 18 as the ruling party goes all out to put up a show of strength amid hectic efforts by the opposition to unite against the Modi government.
Union minister Nityanand Rai met Chirag Paswan on Friday night for the second time in a week, and the LJP(R) also shared a letter written by BJP president JP Nadda to the young leader, inviting him to attend the NDA meeting.
Mr Nadda described the regional party as a key constituent of the NDA and a key partner in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s push for the development and welfare of the poor.
The BJP’s outreach to Mr Paswan, son of late stalwart Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan, underscores its push to bring him back into the NDA’s fold after he walked out of the alliance in Bihar in the 2020 state assembly polls to campaign against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was then the BJP’s biggest ally.
While a split in the LJP spearheaded by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, now a Union minister, weakened him, Chirag Paswan is seen to have succeeded in retaining the party’s loyal vote bank with him, signalling the BJP his importance in a state where it is pitted against the formidable coalition of the RJD, JD(U), Congress and the Left.
He has also been steadfast in his support of the BJP on key issues.
A number of new BJP allies, including the Shiv Sena headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the NCP faction headed by Ajit Pawar, several smaller parties from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and regional parties from the northeastern states, are among those expected to attend the NDA meeting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to be present at the meeting.