Pashupati Kumar Paras, the uncle of Chirag Paswan, was on Thursday elected as the national president of Lok Janshakti Party, reported NDTV. Paras is the Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Hajipur.
The development came after five of the six LJP MPs revolted against Paswan on Monday and told Lok Sabha Speaker that they have chosen 71-year-old Paras as the party’s leader in Parliament. The move was effectively a coup against Paswan, who is the sixth LJP MP. Speaker Om Prakash Birla had accepted Paras as the floor leader of the LJP in the Lower House.
Chirag Paswan is the son of LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan. He took over as the party chief in 2019, a year before his father died.
On Tuesday, the LJP faction, led by Chirag Paswan, expelled Paras and the four other MPs who had revolted against him. This came soon after the rebel leaders removed Paswan as the national president in an emergency meeting of the LJP national working committee. Paswan was removed on the party’s principle of “one man, one post”, the rebels said.
On the same day, the Paras-led faction had made Suraj Bhan Singh the working president of the party and authorised him to convene a meeting of LJP’s national council within five days to elect a new president.
On Thursday, Paswan said that the meeting held in Patna, in which Paras was elected as the new party chief, was unconstitutional. Paswan claimed that the meeting lacked a quorum, meaning that it did not have the minimum number of members needed to conduct the business of the party, according to PTI.
Paswan also said that he would urge the Election Commission to stop the Paras-led faction from using LJP’s symbol, bungalow and party flags in its meetings.
LJP’s Secretary General Abdul Khaliq said that a national executive meeting would be convened in Delhi on Sunday to endorse Paswan’s earlier election as the party president.
Paswan’s decision to contest the Bihar Assembly elections separately from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is considered to be one of the reasons for his feud with his uncle Paras. The new party chief had claimed that 99% of the LJP workers were unhappy with the change of the party’s status in Bihar and its poor performance in the Assembly elections last year.
The party had won just one out of 243 seats in the Assembly polls. However, the LJP dented the performance of the Janata Dal (United), which finished third.
On Wednesday, Paswan had blamed the Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) for orchestrating the coup. “A conspiracy was hatched behind my back while I was ill,” Paswan alleged.