Chirag Paswan, who is facing a coup within his Lok Janshakti Party, on Friday said he had expected a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his “difficult time”, reported NDTV.
“Let us address the elephant in the room,” he told the news channel when asked about feeling let down by the Bharatiya Janata Party. “When initially I was going through a low phase [after the party coup], I was expecting my prime minister to stand by me. But soon, I realised it is for me to clear up the mess on my own.”
Paswan recalled how he supported Modi even on matters like the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the Citizenship Amendment Act when Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) refrained from making its stand clear.
“I am the hanuman for PM,” said Paswan drawing an analogy from the epic Ramayana. “Hanuman did everything possible for his Ram. I did everything possible for my prime minister, supported him wholeheartedly in every decision.”
The LJP plunged into a crisis earlier in June when five of its six Lok Sabha MPs rebelled against Paswan and told Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that they have chosen Pashupati Kumar Paras as the party’s leader in Parliament. Paras is Paswan’s uncle.
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.
Next, 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’s removal was justified by the rebel politicians with the party’s principle of “one man, one post”.
On Tuesday, Paswan said he expected the BJP to help sort things out. “Their silence definitely hurts... My father Ram Vilas Paswan and I stood by BJP like a rock, but they are not there when I expected them in such difficult times,” he had told PTI.
On June 16, Paswan had blamed the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) for orchestrating the coup. “A conspiracy was hatched behind my back while I was ill,” Paswan had alleged. His comments against the JD(U) come at a time amid speculation that Paras will merge the LJP with Nitish Kumar’s party.
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 Paras. 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.
When asked about Paras on Friday, Paswan said the coup led by his uncle was a betrayal. “My own family members have betrayed me,” he told NDTV. “My uncle who was like my father and my brother [cousin Prince] who was like my son...I attended his PTA [parent teacher association] meetings.”
Paswan said his uncle could have discussed his problems with the family. “He was close to papa [Ram Vilas Paswan], so it is a betrayal to him,” said the Lok Sabha MP. “He is my elder, and if he had a problem with something, he could have always told me that something is bothering him and we could have worked it out together. But the way he has gone about it, it is a betrayal to papa. I am sure papa is not happy wherever he is.”