Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Shyam Rajak met Jamui MP and Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan in Delhi last week, India Today reported on Sunday. The meeting took place on Saturday amid an inner-party feud between Paswan and his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras.
Rajak said the meeting with the LJP leader was a courtesy call, ANI reported.
“I went there to meet the Paswan family, including Chirag Paswan,” he said. He, however, said there was a need to build an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in Bihar to address the concerns of Dalits and backward castes, PTI reported.
Rajak had also met RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav a day before meeting Paswan, which led to speculation about the LJP leader’s plan of action. When asked whether the RJD would welcome Paswan into its fold, Rajak said: “All those who want to take the ideology of Lohia and Ambedkar are welcome, be it Chirag Paswan or anyone else.”
In June, Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav had reached out to Paswan, and said that the RJD had always stood by Ram Vilas Paswan.
“The real tribute to him [Paswan] would be carrying forward his values and legacy and that is possible only when Chirag ji joins this existential fight against [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue] MS Golwalkar’s ‘bunch of thoughts’,” Yadav said.
His comment came a day after Paswan himself hinted at a possible alliance with the RJD, suggesting that he would take a decision on the matter around the time elections are held in Bihar.
However, Janata Dal (United) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar described both Yadav and Paswan as “phoonka hua kartoos [used cartridges]”, The Times of India reported. Kumar referred to the 2020 Assembly elections, in which both the RJD and LJP contested against the BJP-JD(U) alliance, but failed to defeat it.
In June, the LJP plunged into a crisis after five of its six Lok Sabha MPs rebelled against Paswan. The rebel MPs had told Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that they have chosen Paras as the party’s leader in Parliament. The development, effectively a coup against Paswan, came less than a year after his father and former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan died in October. He was the founder of the Lok Janshakti Party.
After Birla named Paras as the leader of the LJP in the Lok Sabha, Chirag Paswan had approached the Delhi High Court challenging the move. The court, however, on Friday dismissed his plea, noting that the Speaker has the power to regulate the internal affairs of the House.
On Wednesday, Paras was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet as the Union minister of food processing industries.
The LJP had won only one out of 243 seats in last year’s Assembly polls. However, it dented the performance of the Janata Dal (United), which finished third.