LJP, BJP deny alliance reports
Leaders from both the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday refused to confirm reports of an alliance, after an LJP leader claimed a tie-up was on the cards.
A senior LJP leader close to party president Ram Vilas Paswan told IANS that the BJP was in touch with the LJP for a possible alliance.
"It may be formally announced in the next two-three days," the LJP leader said.
Asked about the possibility of an alliance, BJP president Rajnath Singh said he did not have any information about it.
"Such discussions keep going on. I am not aware what discussions have taken place. If something happens, an announcement will be made at an appropriate time," Rajnath Singh told reporters.
Paswan's son Chirag Paswan said the party will decide on its future strategy after a meeting of the LJP parliamentary board.
"Both the party presidents have very good relations. Ram Vilas Pasawan and Rajnath Singh do meet each other on various public occasions, but then if you are asking me about the talk of an alliance between the two presidents, then it is a no," Chirag Paswan told the media.
"There has been a distrust among the party leaders as there has been no clarity on the alliance. We are soon going to have the party parliamentary meet which will decide our future strategy," he said.
The Congress, which is in talks with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and LJP for an alliance to jointly fight 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, said every attempt is being made for the "broadest spectrum of non-communal parties."
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party was trying for a broad alliance of "non-communal" forces in the interest of the country.
"No final decision has been taken by the parties. Please don't speculate. No question of reacting to speculation," he said.
Congress sources, however, admitted that alliance talks were stuck on the number of seats the LJP wanted to contest. They said the LJP was keen on contesting more seats than it was being offered at present.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari termed reports of the possible alliance between the BJP and LJP as "purely speculative", and said Ram Vilas Paswan was the first to quit the BJP-led alliance on the Gujarat riots issue.
"If at all there is anything that is playing out in the public space, my instant reaction would be that it is completely and purely speculative," he said.
(Posted on 24-02-2014)