Lok Janshakti Party MP Pashupati Kumar Paras, who has orchestrated a coup to dethrone his nephew Chirag Paswan as party chief, has said that gamblers, who lose the battle, generally go to court, not the winners. His response came to a request for comment on Chirag Paswan's move to fight a legal battle in court to take control of the party.
Paras currently has support of five (including him) out of six LJP MPs and has been recognised as its leader in the Lok Sabha.
“During the 2019 parliamentary election, I was the one who spearheaded the campaign and achieved unbelievable success. We won 6 out of 6 seats in Bihar and our vote percentage was highest compared to other political parties in the country,” Paras said.
“Despite that Chirag, who was not the party president then, had removed me from the post of LJP state president. Chirag was president of the Parliamentary Board then and took the post of state president from me illegally,” he alleged, noting that this was the actual reason that differences arose between him and his nephew.
“During the Bihar Assembly election 2020, we were wanting to contest the poll as part of the NDA, similar to the parliamentary election. Chirag objected to it and decided to go alone in the Bihar assembly election and the result came just 1 seat. The party has reached the stage of disappearing politically. The party workers and leaders are angry over his decisions,” Paras added.
Paras reached the Bihar capital Patna to participate in the national executive committee meeting he has called on Thursday.
A large number of Paras’s supporters assembled at the Jai Prakash Narayan airport in Patna on Wednesday with music bands at the airport as well as the LJP office in Patna.
A mild clash between Paras and Chirag supporters also took place on the street connecting the airport and the LJP office. The supporters of Chirag showed black flags to the convoy of Paras. They showed black flags at the LJP’s office as well. Following the incident, police personnel present at the place intervened.
The supporters of Chirag Paswan also chanted slogans of “Paras Murdabad” (Dead) and “Paras Go Back” at the airport as well as the LJP office in Patna.
While the supporters of Chirag Paswan painted the nameplates of Paras and Prince Raj with black colour at the LJP office on Tuesday, Paras’s supporters cleaned the black paint and also put up hoardings at the LJP office without the photograph of Chirag Paswan on Wednesday.
The infighting in the LJP arose after Paras declared himself as leader of the party in Parliament and also gave the names of 5 supporting MPs to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. Following the development, Chirag, who claims to be the president of the party, sacked those 5 MPs from its primary membership.
Meanwhile, breaking silence over the drama in the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Chirag Paswan said that he tried his best to keep the family and the party united but failed, and termed the way in which his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras was elected party leader “illegal”.
Chirag, who is fighting for the survival of his party said that he is ready for a long legal fight against the rebel group, declaring that he was “the son of Ram Vilas Paswan, a sher ka bachcha” (son of a lion).
He also defended his decision to contest last year’s Bihar Assembly elections solo, which has been the major reason for his feud with uncle, saying he did not want to buckle down to Chief Minister and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar.
Addressing a press conference here at his residence, Chirag Paswan said: “Our fight is long, I don’t think one press conference can clear all things.”
“I am ready for the long legal fight, and I am son of Ram Vilas Paswan, sher ka bacha,” he said.
“Till the end, I tried my best to keep the family and the party united. I even went to my uncle’s house. My mother also tried to speak to uncle. But all went in vain.
“And when we realised that everything has gone out of hand, we called a virtual meeting of National Executive and took disciplinary action against them (the rebel MPs),” he said.
The LJP National Executive on Tuesday sacked five party MPs, including Paras, from the party for anti-party activities.
Chirag Paswan said: “People said they removed me from party President’s post and from the post of leader of the LJP in the Lok Sabha. But the way in which they were elected as leader of party is not legal, it is illegal.”
Citing the party’s constitution, he said: “Power of the (parliamentary) board resides with the President of the LJP. Sitting MPs cannot take decision on their own, it has to be taken by the National Executive.”
He also said that the LJP constitution says that post of party President can be filled only after the existing President dies or resigns wilfully.
“My uncle was elected as leader of the party in LS illegally. If my uncle would have spoken to me, I would have given him the post,” Chirag Paswan said.
About his father and party founder, the late Ram Vilas Paswan, he said: “All of you have seen that on October 8, my father passed away and we had to go to the (Bihar) polls.
“It was a tough time for us. Those 40 days I didn’t get time to think about my father. But after the elections, I spent time with family,” he said.
On his decision to go solo in Assembly elections, he said: “We had decided to go solo in Bihar and we fought bravely.”
He said that the LJP got a major victory. “Earlier, the LJP was called one per cent or two per cent vote party, but this time, we got more than 6 per cent vote share,” he said, asserting that the LJP didn’t compromise on its principles even after Assembly elections.
“After elections and before elections, few people from the party and few from Janata Dal-United (JD-U) tried to break our party. My father told me, when he was in ICU, about attempts to break the party. He also spoke to my uncle,” he said.
Chirag Paswan said that this was clear that few people were not ready to struggle and were happy in an alliance.
“And if we had to go to the NDA alliance, then we have to fall on the feet of Nitish Kumar,” he said.
He said that he had no faith in Nitish Kumar’s seven promises, as they were not enough to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Bihar. “And thus I didn’t go with NDA. And few people were not happy. My uncle and party MPs did not campaign for the party in Bihar. The kind of support which was expected was not given,” he alleged.
Taking a jibe at Nitish Kumar indirectly, Chirag said, “They are known for dividing people. They divided backward into backward and most backward.”
He also said that after elections, he spent time with family and also suffered from typhoid.
“And when I was unwell, few people backstabbed me. I wrote on March 29 about the loneliness and asked my uncle to speak to me about the party issues but he kept himself away,” Chirag said about the letter he wrote to Paras.
Asked about the allegations of sexual molestation by a woman party worker against his cousin Prince Raj, who is also one of the rebel MPs, he said: “The matter of the sexual molestation came to me in January this year, if I remember correctly. Then I tried to bring both the parties together to discuss the matter as both had different versions to narrate.”
The rift in the LJP has been wide open since Monday after five of the LJP’s six MPs –Paras, Prince Raj, Mehboob Ali Kaiser, Veena Devi and Chandan Singh rebeled against Chirag Paswan and removed him as leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.
The rebel MPs also removed Chirag Paswan as party President on Tuesday afternoon.
The LJP was formed by Ram Vilas Paswan 21 years ago. (IANS)