Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan on Saturday paid a backhanded compliment to estranged uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, by congratulating him on joining the union cabinet, which he said was a goal he achieved by breaking up his own family. The beleaguered LJP leader, who has suffered a setback with the Delhi High Court rejecting his petition challenging the election of Paras as the party leader in the Lok Sabha, made it clear I am not going to give up my fight to reclaim the party nurtured by my late father Ram Vilas Paswans blood and sweat.
In an oblique reference to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who he suspects of engineering the putsch in the LJP, Chirag said, “I cannot allow the party to be taken over by those, who because of personal ambitions, are sitting in the lap of people who did not deign to come out with even a tweet on my fathers birth anniversary recently.” The Jamui MP also hinted at his disillusionment with the BJP which has kept silent over the crisis in his party despite his unreserved adulation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
When asked by reporters whether he still considered himself a Hanuman to Modi, akin to the relationship between the monkey god and Lord Ram, Paswan cryptically replied “this is a question you need to ask when elections are round the corner.” The 38 years old, who has been reaching out to the family of his late father from the first marriage, also said “I feel overwhelmed by emotions. After the death of my father and the betrayal of my family members many other dear relatives have come out with support.”
In the state since Monday as part of his ashirwad yatra, Chirag has paid visits to his step-sisters here besides his stepmother in his native district of Khagaria, in a charm offensive to win over his close relations. The former Bollywood actor has in the past been accused of condescension towards them. “I am not a legal expert. So I will not comment much upon the Delhi High Court order until a meeting with my legal team in the national capital. But I am not going to give up,” he asserted.
After making his political debut in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Chirag succeeded his father as LJP national president five years later. He opened a front against Nitish Kumar ahead of the assembly polls last year, claiming that the people of the state wanted a change in leadership and he was helping the BJP form its own government. The BJP, which had backed Kumar for a fourth consecutive term, distanced itself from Chirags politics of brinkmanship. It, however, ended up benefiting from the melee as it returned with a tally much higher than that of JD(U),for the first time.
Paras, along with four other party MPs, staged a political coup last month when they broke away voicing disapproval of Chirags stance towards the JD(U). Paras replaced Chirag as the partys leader in the Lok Sabha and was elected national president of the breakaway faction.
The uncle and the nephew seem poised for a long legal and political battle with the former appearing to have the cadres support but the latter capturing the public imagination as the heir to Ram Vilas Paswan, one of the tallest Dalit leaders of his generation.
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