Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag faction expels five party MPs

New Delhi:  In a free for all within the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Chirag Paswan was on Tuesday removed from the post of national president. This comes a day after five party MPs in the Lok Sabha rebelled against him in a coup led by his uncle and LJP leader, Pashupati Kumar Paras. Mr Paswan was removed after an emergency meeting of the LJP national working committee on Tuesday. On the other hand Mr Paswan expelled his uncle, Mr Paras, and four other MPs from the party, signalling that the battle for reins of the LJP is not over. The statement said, “The national executive has unanimously decided to remove Pashupati Kumar Paras, Beena Devi, Mehboob Ali Kaiser, Chandan Singh and Prince Raj from the primary membership of the party with immediate effect. Chirag Paswan is authorised to take all decisions for the upcoming Assembly elections.”

Mr Paswan posted an emotional tweet on Tuesday and shared a letter he had written to his uncle in March. "I tried very hard to keep the party formed by my father and my family united, but I failed. Party is like a mother and we must never betray our mother. People are above all else in a democracy. I thank those who had faith in the party," he wrote. 

According to the Paras group, Suraj Bhan will function as working president until a new president is elected and by the end of this week, Pashupati Kumar Paras' takeover of his brother's party will be complete. While the Chirag group maintains that it still has the reins and the hold of the party, Mr Paswan was ousted on the basis of the "One Man, One Post", said the rebel MP.

Both factions moved swiftly to take control of the party a day after Mr Paras, the youngest brother of Chirag Paswan's father and party founder Ram Vilas Paswan, was recognised by the Lok Sabha secretariat as the leader of the LJP in the Lower House on Monday evening. While Chirag Paswan has been isolated in the parliamentary party as all other MPs have backed Mr Paras, insiders claim that he continues to draw support from other leaders in the organisation. The matter is now likely to reach the Election Commission as both factions have claimed to represent the party.

Seeds of revolt were sown last year when Chirag Paswan decided to break away from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar's Assembly election and focus his energies on defeating ally Nitish Kumar. While the LJP won just one Assembly seat out of Bihar's 243, its main contribution was to reduce the tally of JD(U) by at least 32 seats. After the polls, the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar made it amply clear that he did not want Chirag to have anything to do with the NDA or the BJP. 



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