Chirag Paswan was formally replaced as Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief today by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, who orchestrated a coup against him earlier this week.
Pashupati Paras, the younger brother of LJP founder and Chirag Paswan’s father Ram Vilas Paswan, has been taking over all leadership positions in the party since Monday, when he and four other MPs – the LJP has six MPs in the Lok Sabha including Paswan – broke away and asked to be treated as a separate group.
On Tuesday, the rebels removed Chirag Paswan as party president in an “emergency meeting”. They cited the “One Man, One Post” principle, but now, in an irony, Mr Paras has taken over two posts.
Chirag Paswan retaliated by “expelling” his uncle and the other MPs who have revolted against him, making it a fight between two factions of the LJP.
But Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has accepted Mr Paras as the floor leader of the LJP in the lower house instead of Chirag Paswan, virtually giving the rebel faction official endorsement. Mr Paras was listed as the Lok Sabha LJP leader in a revised list of floor leaders of parties on Monday.
Mr Paras’s supporters claim that if the feud goes to court, the Speaker’s endorsement will strengthen their case. But others point out that Chirag Paswan was not even included on that list handed to the Speaker.
Mr Paras, 71, is a first-time MP and a six-term MLA.
He used to be Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s unofficial manager but after his death, fell out with nephew Chirag over a range of issues including their disagreement over Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Mr Paras was against Mr Paswan’s decision to break away from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NA) in the Bihar election and take on Nitish Kumar.
Chirag Paswan was also seen by the rebel group as “arrogant” and inaccessible, said one of the MPs. On Saturday, after a meeting with senior leaders of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United and a BJP MP, Mr Paras and the rebels decided to move against Chirag Paswan.