Chirag Paswan’s Uncle Pashupati Paras Warns NDA

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'Free To Go Anywhere': Chirag Paswan's Uncle Warns NDA

Mr Paras said his party will wait till the BJP announces its list for Bihar.

New Delhi:

In signs of trouble for the NDA, Rashtriya Lok Janshakti party chief and Union Minister Pashupati Paras has said that all five MPs from his party, including him, will contest from their respective seats in Bihar. He has also warned that his party is “free to go anywhere”. 

Mr Paras’ statement comes amid reports that the alliance has finalised seat-sharing for the state and has decided not to leave any, including the RLJP chief’s constituency of Hajipur, for his party. 

As part of the NDA’s Bihar seat-sharing deal, five seats have reportedly been allotted to the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) led by Mr Paras’ nephew, Chirag Paswan. The party will also contest the Hajipur seat, which was won by Chirag Paswan’s father and Mr Paras’ brother, Ram Vilas Paswan, nine times since 1977. 

The Lok Janshakti Party founded by Mr Paswan had split into the RLJP and the LJP (Ram Vilas) in 2021, a year after the leader’s death, following moves by Mr Paras. 

While expressing his disappointment with the NDA’s decision on Friday, Mr Paras also left the door open for the alliance. He said his party remains a member of the NDA and has not spoken to the opposition INDIA grouping, but warned that things could change if his party is not given “due respect”.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, the RLJP chief said in Hindi, “We are part of the NDA and we have honestly maintained our alliance. I respect PM Modi, Mr Shah and the BJP president. The news that we are getting from the media is that our party has not been given preference.”

“Many of our workers are disappointed. People in politics are not ascetics, they need to go among the people, who are supreme. We would request the PM, Mr Shah and Mr Nadda to reconsider. We will wait till the BJP list is announced. After that, if we are not given due respect, we are independent. Our doors are open. We are free to go anywhere,” he said.

Claiming that justice has not been done to his party, Mr Paras also pointed out that his was a party of Dalits and not giving tickets to Paswan candidates was sending a wrong message to the country. “We are waiting for them to reconsider,” he said.

Chirag Paswan had said on Wednesday that the seat-sharing deal between him and the BJP has been sealed. The formula, according to sources, is that the BJP will contest 17 of the state’s 40 seats, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United will get 16, Mr Paswan five and Upendra Kushwaha and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s party one each. 

The BJP will be keen on keeping Mr Paras in the fold as well because the NDA, including the then undivided LJP had won 39 seats in the state, which sends the fourth-highest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha. With the RJD and the Congress coalition appearing stronger in Bihar than they did in 2019, the state will be crucial in helping the BJP achieve its target of winning 370 seats on its own and 400 as part of the NDA. 

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