The Chirag Paswan-led faction of the Lok Janshakti Party has moved the Delhi High Court on Wednesday against the decision of the Lok Sabha Speaker to recognise his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras as the party’s leader. Later on Wednesday, Paras was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet as the Union minister of food processing industries.
The LJP plunged into a crisis in June when five of its six Lok Sabha MPs rebelled against Paswan and told Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that they have chosen 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.
Paswan claims that 66 out of the 75 members in the LJP national executive support him and therefore Paras’ claim of being the national president will not hold up before the Election Commission or in court, according to the Hindustan Times.
“The Lok Janshakti Party has today filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against the decision of the Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha, in which the expelled MP Shri Pashupati Parasji was considered the leader of the LJP in the House,” Paswan tweeted. “Pashupati has already been expelled from the Lok Janshakti Party for betraying the party and now the party strongly objects to his inclusion in the Union Cabinet.”
LJP Principal General Secretary Abdul Khalique told The Indian Express that the party had no problems with Paras being made a Union minister, but he “cannot be treated as an LJP minister”.
Khalique did not directly accuse any party for the decision. But the LJP said that the Bharatiya Janata Party had failed to ‘follow gathbandhan dharma’.
“We are only saying when five of our MPs met the Speaker...our party leader should have been consulted....” Khalique said. “We are still saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a soft corner for Chirag and treats him as his son.”
Paswan’s decision to contest the Bihar Assembly elections separately from the BJP-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.