- Pashupati Kumar Paras, the leader of the LJP in the Lok Sabha, was unanimously elected as the party’s parliamentary leader.
- Chirag Paswan is said to have angered party leaders by going all out against Nitish Kumar of the JDU in Bihar assembly elections.
- Last year, the LJP left the NDA in Bihar due to its opposition to Nitish Kumar and ran for state assembly elections on its own.
The Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party crumbled from within, with his five Lok Sabha MPs removing him as the floor leader in their parliamentary unit, months after muddled the NDA’s political message in Bihar assembly elections. Chirag Paswan, the son of late Bihar veteran Ram Vilas Paswan, who led the charge in perplexing the NDA campaign in the run-up to the assembly poll, is now scrambling to contain the crisis by reaching out to figures outside the parliamentary party as well.
The rebel MPs also expressed their support for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, against whom Chirag had waged a large-scale campaign before the election, signalling that they want to return to normalcy in Bihar.
This is especially significant since it follows widespread speculation that Prime Minister Modi is planning a revamp of his Union Council of Ministers.
Pashupati Kumar Paras, a Hajipur MP and Chirag’s uncle, was voted as the party’s leader by the rebels.
Five of the Lok Janashakti Party’s six MPs presented a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Sunday evening. The five MPs – Pashupati Kumar Paras (Hajipur), Choudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser (Khagaria), Veena Devi (Vaishali), Prince Raj (Samastipur), and Chandan Singh (Nawada) – expressed their willingness to work under Paras as their parliamentary party leader. According to sources, the MPs also stated that the LJP would join the BJP-led NDA.
Their meeting has been confirmed by sources in the Speaker’s office.
According to a note signed by five of them and described as the minutes of the LJP Parliamentary party, Paras was elected “unanimously” as the parliamentary party leader and Ali Kaiser as the deputy leader of the party. Paras stated in a statement to the media that being a part of the NDA at both the centre and the state level had always been a “dream” for senior Paswan.
The latest developments in the LJP are more beneficial to the JD(U) than the BJP. However, Chirag has been chastised by a segment of the BJP for “crossing the lines and reaching a state of no compromise” during the election campaign. This section blames Chirag’s actions during the election campaign — he continued to viciously attack Nitish Kumar, publicly questioning his leadership of the NDA despite repeated warnings — for the alliance’s narrow majority in Bihar. “Chirag was swayed by an aide and ended up making a political blunder. “If Ram Vilas Paswan had been alive at the time, he would not have allowed it to happen,” a BJP leader claimed.
BJP leaders said that the aide’s influence caused Chirag to turn away all well-wishers even during senior Paswan’s final years. “Despite the fact that he was a cabinet minister, there was no daily medical bulletin. When he was sick, his family kept everyone away from him,” stated a BJP MP from Bihar.
However, BJP insiders asserted that the party had no involvement in the recent developments. “However, the changes within the party are beneficial to both the JD(U) and the NDA,” a senior party leader remarked.
The JD(U) is unlikely to object to the new LJP becoming an active member of the NDA because of the changes. After the JD(U) disagreed, the BJP had to ask Chirag Paswan not to attend a virtual NDA meeting in January. Chirag then cited health reasons for declining to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting. According to JD(U) leaders the BJP will not allow the LJP to join the NDA or the Union Government.
At a time when there is much speculation about a cabinet reshuffle, the LJP’s move is a clear signal that it intended to remain a part of the central and state governments, which would not have been possible if Chirag was in charge.
The JD(U) had publicly requested last week that the allies be given a fair share in the Union Government.
Due to its opposition to Nitish Kumar, the LJP left the NDA in Bihar last year and ran for state assembly elections on its own. Except for a few seats, it fielded candidates in every seat where the JD(U) was contesting, while generally ignoring the BJP. Despite winning only one seat in the Bihar elections, the LJP caused considerable damage to the JD(U), which saw their vote total drop from 71 to 43.