National

Paras stages a coup in LJP, ousts Chirag

Our Bureau/Agencies New Delhi | Updated on June 14, 2021

Chirag Paswan arrives to meet party leader Pashupati Kumar Paras at his house, in New Delhi   -  PTI

Group is also likely to stake claim in the Election Commission to represent the real LJP

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is facing a fresh crisis close on the heels of its defeat in Bihar Assembly elections. Five of its six MPs in the Lok Sabha have ousted MP Chirag Paswan, the son of party’s founder Ram Vilas Paswan, and elected his uncle and MP Pashupati Kumar Paras as the chief of the party.

In a clear indication that the LJP may go back to JD(U)-BJP alliance in the State, Paras hailed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a “man of development”.

‘Saving LJP’

Paras emphasised he is trying to save the party from a crisis. “I have not broken the party but saved it,” the Hajipur MP said. He asserted that 99 per cent of LJP workers were unhappy with the turn of events in Bihar as Paswan led his party against the JD(U) and it fared poorly in the 2020 assembly polls. The LJP has been on the brink of collapse, and lashed out at “anti-social” elements in the party, an apparent pointer to a close aide of Paswan whose proximity has not gone down well with many party leaders.

‘Under consideration’

Paras said his group will continue to be part of the BJP-led NDA, and added that Paswan can remain in the organisation. The group of five MPs has conveyed their decision of electing Paras as the LJP’s leader in Lok Sabha to the Speaker. The five MPs had met Speaker Om Birla on Sunday night to inform him about their decision. Sources in the Speaker’s office said that their request is under consideration

There has been no comment from Paswan on the issue. Soon after Paras spoke to reporters, Paswan drove to his uncle’s residence in the national capital to meet him. Paswan’s cousin and MP Prince Raj also stays there.

Paswan, who has not been keeping well for some time, waited for over 20 minutes in his car before he was let into the house and then left after spending more than an hour inside. He left without saying a word to waiting media persons. It is believed that neither of the two rebel MPs met him. A household help said the two were not at home when the LJP chief arrived.

Paras had long been unhappy with Paswan’s style of functioning and was joined by other MPs, including Chandan Singh, Veena Devi and Mehboob Ali Kaiser, as they believed that his campaign against Nitish Kumar had left them at a disadvantage. Kaiser has been elected the party’s deputy leader.

The group is also likely to stake claim in the Election Commission to represent the real LJP with its president now left isolated at the top after taking on the mantle following his father’s death last year.

The JD(U), which was for the first time reduced to the status of a junior partner to the BJP after it lost more than 35 seats due to the presence of LJP candidates, has been seething and had worked to woo over a number of LJP’s organisational leaders to its fold. The lone LJP MLA joined the JD(U). Paras denied the charge that Kumar’s party had a role in the split.

Published on June 14, 2021

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