The division within the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of the late Ram Vilas Paswan, which was once crucial in undermining Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United and giving the BJP an advantage, is now causing a headache for the BJP. The party desires to unite both factions under a single umbrella to prevent a split in the Paswan votes.
Two days ago, Union Minister Nityanand Rai of the BJP met with both factions and proposed the idea of a merger. However, Paswan’s brother, Pashupati Nath Paras, who currently serves as the Minister of Food Processing Industries in the Central government, rejected the proposal.
Mr. Paras stated that he had a “good conversation” with Nityanand Rai. “He suggested that uncle and nephew come together, but I said it’s not possible. When things go wrong, even if you try your best, you can’t make butter out of curdled milk,” he added.
The BJP has invited Chirag Paswan to participate in a mega meeting with allies on July 18.
The faction led by Pashupati Paras stated that they will not oppose Chirag Paswan’s entry into the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but they will not welcome him either.
When asked about his nephew’s presence in the meeting, Mr. Paras told reporters, “Chirag Paswan is no longer a partner of the NDA. He has been isolated since the 2020 assembly elections.”
“This is an election year. Every party wants to attract more people… So Chirag Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi have been invited. It’s a good thing that people will come to the meeting. The outcome will depend on what happens at the meeting.”
Currently, the uncle and nephew are engaged in a battle over the Hajipur seat, both aiming to claim Ram Vilas Paswan’s legacy.
During his lifetime, the seat was Ram Vilas Paswan’s stronghold. In 2019, Mr. Paras won from this constituency, while Chirag Paswan won from Jamui. Mr. Paras now refuses to relinquish the seat to his nephew.
“The question that should be asked is why, when your father was alive, were you asked to contest from Jamui and not from Hajipur,” added Mr. Paras, whose faction has five Members of Parliament (MPs).
He even accused his nephew of sympathizing with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). “Have you ever seen Chirag Paswan opposing Lalu-ji, opposing Tejashwi Yadav?” he said.