Chirag Paswan has suffered an embarrassing defeat from his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras who replaced him as the national president of Lok Jan Shakti (LJP) party last week. Five of the six LJP MPs are supporting Paras.
LJP was founded by the late Ram Vilas Paswan but after his death in October last year, the party could not be held together under his son Chirag’s leadership. However, Chirag has announced his ‘Aashirwad Yatra’ from July 5 across Bihar to gather sympathy and public support for him.
Several political analysts believe that Chirag now has to earn his place as the head of LJP. He is also being equated with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, who had to struggle his way to the top after his father’s death in 2009.
Jagan, who is presently ruling Andhra Pradesh, was left alone by Congress after his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy died in a helicopter crash in 2009 - the same year Jagan joined politics. YSR was the Congress chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh till his death, and was serving his second term. Jagan expected Congress would make him his successor as the CM, however, the party snubbed him and instead went ahead with K Rosaiah.
Jagan, who earlier had an image of a businessman, decided to chart his own path, and floated his party YSR Congress in 2010. Thereafter, he even went to jail on fund embezzlement charges and around the same time, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance proposed the creation of Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh. While in jail, Jagan started a hunger strike against the division of Andhra Pradesh. After he was out of jail in 2013, he led a mass movement against the UPA’s proposition.
However, his party failed to win the 2014 assembly elections of Andhra Pradesh, but he continued his fight. Ahead of the 2019 assembly polls, he led a 3648-km long ‘sankalp yatra’ to gather public support for him. His walk-tour spanned 125 assembly seats across 13 districts. When the results for the 2019 assembly polls were declared, his party had swept the state by winning 151 of the 175 seats. Even in the Lok Sabha elections, which were held simultaneously, YSR Congress won 22 of the 25 seats.
Similarly, Chirag, who is yet to come out of his actor image, will need to do something like Jagan. Political experts believe the LJP scion will be able to redeem his hold on the party by getting out on the road.