Less than a year after former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s passing away, his party, the Lok Janshakti Party headed by his son Chirag Paswan, split on Monday (June 14). The party’s five MPs in the Lok Sabha have written to the Speaker asking him to consider them as a separate group.
The five MPs, led by Chirag’s uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, want a new leader to replace senior Paswan’s son.
Paras is Ram Vilas Paswan’s younger brother and has been elected as the new leader of the LJP parliamentary party.
In dramatic events in Delhi, Chirag drove to his uncle’s house for talks, but stayed in his car. Paras did not come out to greet him, media reports said.
“It was the desire of five MPs to save our party. I have not split the party, I have saved it. Chirag Paswan is my nephew as well as party’s national president, I have no objection,” Paras said on June 14. “I am with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Nitish Kumar (Bihar CM and JD-U leader) is a Vikas Purush (development man),” he added.
The division within the Paswan family was inevitable as Chirag and Paras were not on talking terms. Sources say Paras, a first-time MP from Hajipur, was promised a spot in the Union cabinet by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The friction reached a decisive stage after the November Bihar Assembly polls in which LJP won only one seat in the 243-member House. It chose contradictory ways to fight the polls – while it stridently opposed Nitish Kumar-led JD-U, it continued to support the BJP at the Centre. The JD-U and BJP fought the elections in alliance and the BJP emerged as the largest party in the polls.
The LJP’s lone MLA Prince Raj has already joined the JD-U in Bihar.
Paras had never supported his nephew’s decision to contest the Bihar election separately from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and field candidates against estranged ally Nitish Kumar. Paras had also felt sidelined when his nephew did not bother to check with him about the party candidates.
Chirag was opposed to his uncle as well and had threatened to expel him, saying: “You are not my blood,” media reports said.
The LJP’s only “achievement” was to split votes in support of Nitish’s Janata Dal United (JD-U), which finished third and was reduced to junior partner in the NDA.