The drama within the Lok Janshakti Party that began on Monday with Chirag Paswan’s uncle revolting against him, continues on the third day today, pitting the two factions against each other over the rightful claim to the party. Yesterday, both the factions passed orders expelling each other from the party and a split — and a court battle — now appears imminent. Today, Chirag Paswan wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urging him to review his decision to nominate Pashupati Kumar Paras as the leader of the party in the House. He also informed the Speaker about the LJP’s decision to expel the rebel party leaders.
Chirag Paswan today said that attempts have been there for a while now to break the party. Reacting to his decision to fight the Bihar polls solo, Chirag said he knew that if the JDU, BJP and LJP had contested together, the coalition may have swept the Bihar elections. He said that he did not agree to this as contesting polls by remaining in the NDA fold would have meant that he had to bow before Nitish Kumar and he could not compromise on his principles. Chirag said that he is proud of his action as LJP’s vote share increased to 6 per cent.
LJP had six MPs including Chirag Paswan, his uncle Paras and four other leaders. Paras had claimed support of four remaining MPs and revolted against Chirag displacing him as the parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha on Monday. On Tuesday, the rebel leaders removed Chirag from the post of party president. In return, Chirag held a meeting of the LJP National Executive virtually and expelled the five rebel MPs including his uncle Paras. The party then sent the resolution to the Election Commission and the Lok Sabha Speaker. The resolution also addressed Chirag as the ‘national president of the LJP’.
Issuing his first public statement on the crisis, Chirag released a letter written by him to Paras on March 31 indicating that the latter had been resentful of him since the death of LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan. Sharing the letter on Twitter, Chirag said that he had tried to keep the LJP built by his father and the family together but was unsuccessful. He said that the party is akin to a mother and nobody should betray a mother. “In a democracy, the people are supreme. I thank the people that believe in the party,” he said.
The four-page letter talks about Paras’ various grievances, including his alleged unhappiness at another Paswan kin, Prince Raj, being made Bihar LJP chief.
Reports claimed that the Paras faction might pick former MP Suraj Bhan Singh as the LJP chief in place of Chirag to show how junior Paswan had been violating the party’s ‘one person, one post norm’ by holding several positions.
The five rebel MPs include Beena Devi, Mehboob Ali Qaiser and Chandan Singh, apart from Paras and Prince Raj. LJP general secretary Abdul Khalique told The Indian Express that the current national executive has the power to take decisions, unlike the Paras faction. “One president, six vice-presidents, one treasurer, 16 general secretaries, 16 secretaries, 15 members of frontal organisations — the body to elect the president has to have a minimum 75 members. This body has the power to act. If the person holds a senior post like state president or MP, the matter can be sent to the disciplinary committee. But in an emergency of this kind, the National Executive has the power to remove anyone for anti-party activities,” said Khalique.
With both the factions holding on to their claims, the battle may soon take a legal turn as the chances of reconciliation diminish with each passing day.