Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 14
Pashupati Kumar Paras recognised as LJP floor leader in Lok Sabha, an official notification from the house said—a development that comes after five of the six Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MPs in the Lok Sabha on Monday elected the Hajipur MP Pashupati Kumar Paras to replace Chirag Paswan as head of the party the lower house.
Pashupati Kumar Paras is the brother of the late LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan.
The five MPs had met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Sunday and given him a written request for appointing Paras as their leader in place of Chirag.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat Monday issued a revised list of floor leaders of parties in a notification in which Paras has been listed as the leader of Lok Janshakti Party.
This development, which comes less than a year after the death of LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan, marks a major shift in Bihar politics and follows the party’s big debacle in the Bihar elections, which it fought outside the NDA.
Sources, meanwhile, say that “Paras or someone else from LJP” may be accommodated in the Narendra Modi cabinet in a reshuffle expected “any time soon”.
“The BJP/JD (U) leadership was not in favour of Chirag Paswan. Though he said he was not well, he was in fact told to stay away from the NDA meeting ahead of the Budget session,” sources said.
While those close to Chirag are blaming the JD (U) for the split, sources say the BJP also wanted to accommodate someone other than Chirag from the party in the Central cabinet from the caste/vote base it represents.
Chirag has always been a fierce critic of the JD (U) president. However, Paras on Monday lauded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a good leader and “vikas purush”, underlining the deep divisions within the LJP and isolation of Chirag in the party founded by his father.
Paras said his group will continue to be part of the BJP-led NDA and that Chirag can remain part of the organisation. The Hajipur MP also said that he has “not broken, rather saved the party”. He said that 99 per cent of LJP workers were unhappy with Chirag’s decision to contest against JD (U)-led NDA in the 2020 Assembly polls.
Meanwhile, another party MP, Veena Devi, also said that the people of Bihar wanted LJP to stay with the NDA, which is why they voted for it in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“People are angry because they voted for LJP considering it to be an ally of the NDA,” she said, adding that the party wants to be a part of the NDA both in Bihar and the Centre. “The doors are not closed for Chirag, LJP is his family’s party,” she also added.
Meanwhile, the five LJP MPs have conveyed their decision to elect Paras as their leader in the Lok Sabha to the Speaker.
Interestingly, soon after Paras spoke to reporters, Chirag drove to his residence to meet him. Paswan’s cousin and MP Prince Raj also stay at the same address. However, after spending close to 90 minutes at their residence Chirag left, without speaking to the waiting media persons. In fact, it is said, they were not even at home.
— With PTI
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