Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan once referred to himself as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Hanuman’. However, after a bitter showdown between him and his estranged uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras – a Union Minister – over the eviction of his late father and former Union Minister Ram Bilas Paswan from a government bungalow in Delhi, the equations seem to be changing.
Forced to evacuate 12 streets, Chirag Paswan said his uncle “should be ashamed that the portrait of his brother, whom he called his god, was trampled by the government in which he was a minister.” In a quick response, Pars said everything that happened was “because he (Chirag) betrayed the alliance my brother was part of.”
Speaking to The Print, Chirag Paswan was asked if he thought he was still the PM’s ‘Hanuman’.
Chirag Paswan said he made the remarks while his father was on a ventilator. “It simply came to our notice then. Prime Minister Modi was like a guardian and I am deeply indebted to him for standing by me in times of crisis, “said the LJP MP from Bihar’s Jamui constituency.
With three years to go before the state assembly elections, Chirag Paswan has left his options open. He has the full support of Bihar Opposition Leader Tejswi Yadav as well as former Chief Minister and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner Jitan Ram Manji, who condemned the manner in which the late Rambilas Paswan’s belongings were thrown from Lutyens’ Delhi bungalow. Lived for 30 years. However, the LJP leader is silent about his 2025 plans.
What happened in the 2020 election?
In the run-up to the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections, the disgruntled Chirag Paswan left the BJP-led NDA alliance after rejecting an offer to contest 20 seats.
Soon, the LJP has decided to contest from all the 122 seats where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) has fielded its candidates as NDA allies.
During the election, a number of senior BJP leaders left the party and joined the LJP. Although PM Modi decided not to attack Chirag Paswan during the campaign, state leaders like Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and BJP Bihar unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal have claimed that Chirag Paswan is trying to mislead voters and the LJP is not part of the NDA in Bihar.
Although the LJP won only one seat in the Assembly elections, it gave a push to the JDU, winning 5.5 per cent of the vote and securing the defeat of the JDU candidates in more than 40 Assembly seats. This has reduced Nitish Kumar’s party to the status of ‘junior partner’ in the NDA, with only 43 seats.
However, Chirag Paswan’s happiness was short-lived. The split from his party into the JD (U) means the Paswan clan lost its only legislature in April 2021. He was also denied a Rajya Sabha seat which became vacant after the death of his father, which Chirag wanted for his mother Reena Paswan.
Another blow came in October 2021 when the LJP split and Chirag’s uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras took five Lok Sabha MPs, leaving his nephew isolated. Pars was sworn in as Union Cabinet Minister in April 2021.
12, street debate
On March 30, Chirag Paswan suffered another blow when Housing Ministry officials entered Ram Bilas Paswan’s official bungalow at 12, Janpath – for more than three decades and threw away his belongings.
A distraught Chirag said he was assured that there would be no problem with his stay in the bungalow and blamed CM Nitish Kumar and his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras for “creating pressure” on the Center.
“My uncle should be ashamed that the portrait of his brother, whom he called his god, has trampled on him in the government in which he was a minister,” Chirag said.
Rejecting the allegations, Pars said that if Chirag Paswan had been in the alliance, he would not have faced any problem. He added that as far as the bungalow is concerned, he has received six notices and lost in the Delhi High Court.
What’s next for the Paswan dynasty?
According to a senior party leader who spoke to The Print, the LJP chief gave no indication of what his strategy would be for the 2025 state assembly elections and would wait and see before taking the final call.
In last year’s by-elections to two Assembly seats, his candidates lost their seats, but he still had more votes than the Congress candidates.
Now, it’s a struggle for survival for Chirag Paswan, who seeks to retain his father’s rich legacy as well as his political relevance.
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