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Updated March 20th, 2024 at 14:55 IST

Uncle Vs Nephew in Bihar NDA: Why Hajipur Has Become Hotseat For Chirag Paswan- Pashupati Paras

Hajipur is considered to be a pocket borough of Lok Janshakti Party founder late Ram Vilas Paswan

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Late Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Late Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan | Image: PTI/File
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New Delhi: Ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party president Pashupati Paras resigned from the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This comes a day after BJP-led NDA announced seat sharing arrangement with allies for Lok Sabha polls in Bihar, in which Chirag Paswan led Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) has given 5 Lok Sabha seats. 

The showdown between Chirag Paswan and his estranged uncle Pashupati Paras may have given Chirag Paswan an edge, as he has been retained in the NDA fold, the ultimate inheritor of Ram Vilas Paswan’s legacy will be decided by the voters of Hajipur. 

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Injustice Done to Me and My Party: Pashupati Paras 

As he resigned from the Modi cabinet, the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party president Pashupati Paras said he had served the National Democratic Alliance with honesty and loyalty but received injustice. "Injustice has been meted out to my party and especially me," said Paras at a press conference. 

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Pashupati Paras was the only ally in the cabinet of Prime Minister Modi and represents Hajipur Lok Sabha constituency.

NDA Picks Chirag Paswan, Drops Paras 

NDA on Monday finalised its seat-sharing formula in Bihar for Lok Sabha elections, announcing the BJP will contest 17 constituencies, the JD(U) 16 and Chirag Paswan's LJP (Ram Vilas) five, while rebuffing the claims of the LJP faction led by Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras. Two other NDA allies - Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Morcha - will contest one seat each, Vinod Tawde, the BJP's in-charge for elections in Bihar. 

This will be the first time the BJP has got more seats than Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) in Bihar, underscoring the change in their equations after they joined hands a few months back.

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Hajipur Becomes the Bone of Contention 

His party leaders indicated that Paras will be contesting from Hajipur in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While on the other hand, the Hajipur seat has already gone into nephew Chirag Paswan’s kitty under the NDA’s seat-sharing arrangement. Speculations are rife that Paras may explore the possibility of joining hands with the opposition alliance led by Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar to fight against his nephew in the Hajipur seat.

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Hajipur is considered to be a pocket borough of Lok Janshakti Party founder late Ram Vilas Paswan. The rift between Paras and Chirag Paswan can be traced back to 2015 when Ram Vilas Pawan picked son Chirag to head the Lok Janshakti Party’s parliamentary board, and worsened with Ram Vilas Paswan’s deteriorating health. 

Just a year after Ram Vilas’s demise in 2020, Pashupati Paras and four MPs, including younger brother and son of Ramchandra Paswan Prince Raj, rebelled against Chirag Paswan and declared their own faction as the actual LJP.

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Final Inheritor of Ram Vilas Paswan's Legacy? 

While observers suggested that Chirag must walk out of the NDA after Pashupati Paras was included in the cabinet, he remained adamant calling himself ‘Modi’s Hanuman’. It seems that Chirag Paswan has got his due with BJP giving Chirag Paswan's LJP (Ram Vilas) five seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

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It was an early Holi for Chirag Paswan on Monday as jubilant party workers smeared his face with dry colour following the announcement. His late father Ram Vilas Paswan would often say that time, not people, is strong, the Jamui MP said, adding that he will contest from Hajipur, currently represented by his estranged uncle Paras.

Asked if there was any chance of reconciliation between him and his uncle, Chirag Paswan said that it was for the senior members of the family to decide. 

This was seen as a final showdown between Paswan and his uncle Paras as he always claimed that he and not his uncle who is the political heir of the late Dalit stalwart Ram Vilas Paswan. While it may seem a final victory for Chirag Paswan, the voters of Hajipur will pick the actual inheritor of Ram Vilas Paswan's legacy. 

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Published March 19th, 2024 at 16:05 IST

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