Notwithstanding reports from within the party that severing of ties with the Congress and joining hands with the Rashtriya Janata Dal resulted in Lok Janshakti Party drawing a blank in the Lok Sabha polls, party president Ramvilas Paswan on Monday said he would align again with Lalu Prasad to contest the 2010 assembly elections in Bihar.
Despite admitting that severing ties with the Congress was the "biggest mistake," Paswan said he had never thought of dissociating from RJD and going alone in the assembly polls.
"LJP will bounce back in the October 2010 assembly polls," Paswan claimed in Patna and announced that he would go to the villages to strengthen the party. He said LJP has prepared a 100-day programme to resurrect the party, which include a jail bharo across the state on July 27 and July 28 on the issue of Mahadalits and advocating for extremely backward castes.
Criticisms on LJP's alignment with RJD were made by other leaders in the presence of Paswan at a party workers' meeting in Patna which advocated severing of the ties and termed Lalu Prasad as a 'spent force.'
In the last Lok Sabha polls, though the Congress candidates forfeited their security deposits in a number of seats, but they caused the defeat of RJD-LJP candidates in 22 seats. Paswan said division of secular votes and over confidence too contributed to the poor performance of the RJD-LJP combine.
Paswan also accused the Nitish Kumar government with indulging in electoral malpractices like using faulty Electronic Voting Machines, slowing down the process of voting in the areas where LJP and RJD candidates were stronger and booking party workers in false cases before the polling.
The LJP president said he would now work to strengthen the party ahead of the assembly polls. To start with, district -level meetings of party workers would be held at Siwan, Motihari, Riga and Samastipur from June 21 to June 24 to take stock of what went wrong for the part in the general election.
Referring to by-polls to be held in 17 seats which fell vacant after the Members of Legislative Assembly were elected to Parliament, he said winnability would be the criteria of selecting the candidates.
At the worker's meeting, LJP leader and former Member of Parliament Surajbhan, whose wife Veena Devi had contested unsuccessfully from Nawada LS seat, said RJD votes particularly that of Yadavs were not transferred in favour of its candidates in 12 seats where the party contested.
"There was total absence of cooperation between LJP and RJD at the grass-roots level and this caused the debacle," party MLAs Nagina Devi and Ijahar Ahmed said adding that preference for "high-flying" candidates at the cost of genuine workers was a mistake committed by the party.
Division of Muslim votes had also played a role in the debacle they said. "Besides anti-Lalu forces polarised against the LJP nominees," they added.