Bihar MP Chirag Paswan today claimed his party Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) is not just part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but has even reached an agreement with the BJP top brass on a formula for next year’s Lok Sabha and 2025 Bihar assembly elections. Mr Paswan’s assertion comes a day after his estranged uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, who he met and sought blessings from at the big NDA meeting in Delhi on Tuesday, said Chirag Paswan was technically not part of the NDA even if he attended the alliance meeting.
“The BJP was in constant touch with our party. (Minister of State for Home Affairs) Nityanand Rai met us several times, where he respected our concerns. I then met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP chief JP Nadda. They didn’t just honour our concerns, but we also prepared an outline of our alliance for the 2024 and 2025 elections,” he told reporters today in Patna, pointing out that his party didn’t join any other alliance even when it walked out of the NDA.
The NDA will surpass its 39 of 40 Bihar tally from the 2019 general elections to win all seats in 2024, Mr Paswan said, claiming there’s anger among the people against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Chirag Paswan has locked horns with uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras over contesting from the Hajipur Lok Sabha seat, which his father, former union minister and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan, used to represent. Mr Paras, who is currently MP from there, has repeatedly rubbished his nephew’s claim that he would contest from Hajipur this time instead of Jamui, which he currently represents.
The BJP has reportedly been desperate for the uncle-nephew duo to patch up and merge their parties, as even though Mr Paras has five of the LJP’s six MPs, Chirag Paswan’s recent tour of the state seems to have convinced the BJP of his value in consolidating Dalit votes.
On being questioned about a possible merger after a recent visit from Nityanand Rai, a visibly agitated Pashupati Paras had said, “Nityanand Rai ke kahne se kya hoga? Nityanand Raiji BJP ke authentic member nahin na hain (who is Nityanand Rai to ask? He is not an authentic member of the BJP)”.
Meanwhile, Chirag Paswan has pushed the ball in his uncle’s court when asked about whether the factions of the Lok Janshakti Party will unite. In an exclusive interview with NDTV, he spoke about reaching out to his uncle and said: “The elders have always made decisions in our family. This is not just a political matter, but also a matter of the family. The decision to split after my father’s death was my uncle’s, and it is on him now to decide if the family will come together. I think he has already decided.”
Chirag Paswan touched his uncle’s feet at the NDA meeting and got a warm hug in return. However, Mr Paras dismissed reconciliation rumours sparked by the bonhomie on camera and said: ‘Chirag touched my feet, so I greeted him. But I said it before, alliance may be able to break and reunite, but broken hearts cannot be put back together.’
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