“When I take oath as a Union minister, I will resign as leader of the parliamentary party,” he told reporters.
Paras was responding to a question as to how can he hold two posts – of the LJP president and party’s floor leader in Parliament – when he had opposed his nephew Chirag Paswan for holding three positions in the party, according to The New Indian Express.
The LJP has plunged into a crisis with the party splitting into two factions – one led by Paras and another by Chirag Paswan, the former party chief. 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.
The development came after five of the six LJP MPs revolted against Paswan on Monday and told Lok Sabha Speaker Om Prakash Birla 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. Birla had accepted Paras as the floor leader of the LJP in the Lower House.
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. It was then that Paras was elected as the new chief.
Paswan has called the meeting in which Paras was elected to the top post 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.
However, on Thursday, Paras told reporters that the party supports him, citing his unopposed election. When asked what had led to the revolt against his nephew, the new party chief said that there was nothing to do as Paswan had become a dictator.
He claimed that his actions against Paswan’s “dictatorship” was done in a democratic manner.
Meanwhile, LJP’s Secretary General Abdul Khaliq has 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.