Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MP Chirag Paswan had never thought even in his wildest dream that he would find himself alone and isolated one day in his own “bungalow”, — the party’s election symbol.
His uncle and parliamentarian Pashupati Kumar Paras, in a sudden coup, has hijacked the entire party and got himself elected as the LJP leader in the Lok Sabha as well as the party’s national president — the posts which Chirag enjoyed till yesterday. So, how did that happen? Was only Paras involved in this game or was this the result of the well-orchestrated coup planned at the level of chief minister Nitish Kumar?
Those familiar with the developments say Paras was just a pawn in the whole game. As such, three JD-U MPs close to the Bihar chief minister had been involved in the plan to show Chirag the right place right since he fielded candidates against the JD-U in the recently-held Assembly polls, thus making the contest triangular.
Such was its impact that the JD-U was relegated to third position in the State Assembly with only 43 seats to its kitty whereas the BJP with 74 seats emerged as the single-largest party in the NDA. Chirag’s LJP won just one seat. The LJP had fielded 135 candidates primarily against the JD-U which sharply divided the NDA votes, dealing a severe blow to JD-U prospects. Although Nitish managed to secure his throne, he had lost much of his power.
JD-U insiders say right since his party’s “embarrassing show” in the Assembly polls, Nitish was burning with the fire of humiliation and planning to teach a lesson to Chirag. Soon thereafter, the JD-U engaged three leaders in the “mission split”. The team first targeted Paras who was running annoyed with Chirag since he was not getting the kind of prominence he got while Ram Vilas Paswan was alive.
As such, Chirag had trimmed his uncle’s power first by removing him as the state LJP president and then as chief of the party’s Dalit Sena. Reports said Paras enjoyed good relations with Nitish since he served as a minister in his government prior to getting elected to the Lok Sabha and was in favour of his party contesting elections under his leadership but Chirag didn’t take any note of his advice and instead fielded candidates against the JD-U. Paras came in JD-U grip just after few meetings only, sources informed.
In the second attempt, the JD-U team approached Prince Raj, another party MP and son of Chirag’s late uncle Ram Chandra Paswan. Prince, once considered very loyal to Chirag, was going angry right since his power was divided. Prince enjoyed the role as the state party president but recently Chirag divided his power and appointed Raju Tiwari as state’s executive president.
The other two MPs — Chandan Singh, a Bhumihar by caste and Veena Devi, a Rajput caste member— easily fell in line as one of the JD-U MPs played the upper caste card. The last MP Mehboob Ali Kaisar too didn’t take long time to move into the trap as he too was feeling cornered within the party right since Chirag had taken over the party.
Prior to setting out on the mission, the chief minister inducted LJP’s lone member in the Bihar Assembly and Bihar Legislative Council Raj Kumar and Nutan Singh respectively into JD-U, leaving the LJP totally unrepresented in both the Houses.