5 LJP MPs rally against Chirag Paswan, support uncle Pashupati
Five of the six MPs from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) have joined hands against their leader Chirag Paswan - leaving him isolated and marking a big development in Bihar's politics. These leaders have reportedly supported Pashupati Kumar Paras, Paswan's uncle and a first-time MP from Hajipur. The LJP has six members in the Lok Sabha, including Paswan.
"There are six MPs in our party. It was the desire of five MPs to save our party," Paras said today. "I have not broken party but saved it." He told reporters in Patna that these MPs have conveyed to the Lok Sabha Speaker they want to be treated as a separate group. Paras also said he has nothing against his nephew.
The rebel group includes MPs Prince Raj, who is Paswan's cousin, Chandan Singh, Veena Devi, and Mehboob Ali Kaiser. These leaders have reportedly been unhappy with Paswan's style of working. Paswan took over the party's leadership after his father, Ram Vilas Paswan, died last year.
Sources cited by NDTV and The Indian Express said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is involved in the rebellion. The MPs are now expected to support Kumar's party Janata Dal (United) in the coming days, the sources added. It is also being speculated that Paras has been offered a place in the Union Cabinet for orchestrating the revolt.
Paras was asked by reporters if he has decided to merge the LJP with the JD(U) in Bihar. "This is 100% wrong. LJP is our party, the organization is strong in Bihar," he said even as he praised CM Kumar, according to Hindustan Times. LJP had contested the 2020 Bihar elections solo, with Paswan launching a bitter campaign against Kumar and the JD(U).
More drama unfolded in Delhi this morning as Paswan went to his uncle's house, but chose to wait inside his car. Paras also did not come out to see him, NDTV has reported. About the revolt, he has reportedly told his close aides, "If I can bear the shock of my father's death, I would bear this shock as well."
For CM Kumar, the break-up in the LJP was a chance at revenge as Paswan's campaign against him had cost his party dozens of seats in last year's Assembly elections in Bihar. The JD(U) saw its worst performance in years, finishing third with just 43 seats. Paswan is an MP from the Jamui constituency and the current National President of the LJP.