Union Food Processing Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras on Thursday said he is the “real political successor” of his late brother Ram Vilas Paswan and not Chirag Paswan, who may be a claimant to his father’s assets. After the death of Ram Vilas Paswan last year, a factional feud started in Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) between Paras and Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan, with both sides now claiming to represent the party. LJP was founded by Ram Vilas Paswan.
Paras, who was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister on Wednesday in the Narendra Modi-led government and made the Minister of Food Processing Industries, asked Chirag Paswan to do “self-introspection” about his mistakes. Paras, who previously headed LJP’s Bihar unit and is currently the national president of its breakaway faction, said his late brother is his role model.
Speaking to media after taking charge as the Union minister on Thursday, Paras thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for including him in the council of ministers and said he will work with dedication. In the next 10 days, Paras said he will understand the working about the ministry and then outline his vision and programme. “I consider Ram Vilas Paswanji as my ideal. He was my elder brother,” he told reporters here.
Paras recalled that Paswan had asked him to fight assembly election from Alauli, Khagria in 1977-78 and also Lok Sabha election from Hajipur constituency in Bihar in 2019. Both these seats were earlier represented by Paswan. “I am the real political successor of Paswanji (Ram Vilas Paswan). Chirag Paswan is definitely his son but he is not and cannot be his political successor. He (Chirag) definitely has a right on his father’s assets,” Paras said.
Talking about his political experience, Paras said he has been elected as a MLA eight times and was also a minister in the Bihar government. In 2019, he became a Lok Sabha member for the first time and now has been made a Union Cabinet minister. Asked about Chirag Paswan’s decision to move the Delhi High Court against the decision of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to recognise Paras as the leader of LJP in the Lower House, Paras said it was not “legally correct” and asserted that in democracy, majority prevails.
Paras, a politician with more than four decades of experience, spent a large part of his career under the shadow of Ram Vilas Paswan. After Paswan’s death and successfully staging a political coup against Chirag Paswan, Paras now seems poised to come into his own. Paras began his political innings in 1978 as a Janata Party MLA from Alauli in his native Khagaria district. He represented the assembly segment several times on tickets of the Janata Dal and LJP.
He became a member of the Nitish Kumar Cabinet in Bihar in 2017 when the chief minister realigned with the NDA. The 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw him making his Parliamentary debut from Hajipur.