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Chirag Paswan targets JD(U) for LJP split, steers clear of question about BJP’s role

Asserting that he will fight for the cause of the party founded by his father, Chirag Paswan said it is going to be a long battle to claim ownership of the LJP.

Chirag Paswan (left); uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras

With the crisis in the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) deepening, Chirag Paswan on Wednesday blamed Janata Dal (United) for engineering the split in his party but steered clear of questions regarding the role of the BJP in the development. He also rejected the decisions taken by the faction headed by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, saying that the party’s constitution does not authorise them any such power.

In his first interaction with media after the split in the party, Chirag alleged that the JD(U) had been working to cause a split in the party even when his father Ram Vilas Paswan was alive.

“A conspiracy was hatched behind my back while I was ill,” Chirag further claimed. He had recently suffered from typhoid.

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Striking a combative note by describing himself as “sher ka beta” (lion’s son), Chirag asserted that he will fight for the cause of the party founded by his father. It is going to be a long battle to claim ownership of the LJP, he added.

On Tuesday, five MPs led by Paras claimed that they have removed party national president Chirag from the post. Chirag, in turn, held a meeting of the LJP National Executive on Zoom, and announced expulsion of the five ‘rebel’ MPs from the party. LJP leaders said the resolution had been sent to the Election Commission and the Lok Sabha Speaker.

Also Read |Explained: How Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP slipped away from his son Chirag

The rebellion by the five MPs—Paras (Hajipur), Choudhary Mehboob Ali Qaisar (Khagaria), Chandan Kumar (Nawada), Veena Devi (Vaishali), and Prince Raj (Samastipur)— against Chirag came to the fore when they met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Sunday evening and again on Monday, saying that they have elected Paras as LJP parliamentary party leader. Late Monday night, the Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a circular confirming Paras as leader of the LJP in the Lok Sabha.

The series of dramatic events come months after the Bihar Assembly elections in October-November last year, in the run-up to which Chirag Paswan had attacked the JD(U) and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and stepped out of the NDA, all along maintaining that he wanted to work with the BJP. The LJP had, however, fared poorly in the elections, with its lone MLA eventually crossing over to the JD(U).

The party drama also played out in Patna, where Chirag’s supporters held a protest at the LJP office and blackened posters of the five ‘rebel’ MPs.

Paswan has also contested the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to name Paras as the leader of the party in the House, saying it is “contrary” to constitutional provisions of his organisation. In a letter written on Tuesday, Paswan informed Birla of the party’s decision to expel five MPs, who have joined hands against him, and urged the Speaker to review the earlier decision and issue a new circular naming him as the LJP leader in the Lok Sabha.

“Since Article 26 of the Constitution of Lok Jan Shakti Party empower Central Parliamentary Board of the party to decide who would be Leader of our Party in Lok Sabha, hence, the decision of announcing Sh. Pashupati Kumar Paras MP as Leader of LJP party in the Lok Sabha is contrary to provision of Constitution of our party,” he wrote in the letter.

Paras, however, blamed Chirag for the crisis in the LJP and also targeted him for the decision to quit NDA ahead of the Assembly polls. “You must ask Chirag Paswan why he removed me from the state president’s post. He did it even when he doesn’t hold power. We contested the Bihar elections under my supervision and all six MPs won. We received the highest percentage of vote as per the Election commission’s report. However, I must say that we wanted to contest the election in alliance with NDA but he (Chirag) didn’t agree to it. This is the reason why LJP is in this crisis now,” Paras was quoted as saying by ANI.

To this, Chirag said many wanted him to opt for a life of comfort and not struggle by allying with him. “For that, I would have to bow before Nitish Kumar. I could not do that. My uncle played no role in the election campaign,” he said and rejected accusations from the rival group that he took unilateral decisions during the polls.

(With PTI, ANI inputs)

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