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No More PM Modi's 'Hanuman'? After Unceremonious Exit from 12 Janpath, Chirag Paswan Explores Options

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: April 07, 2022, 08:45 IST

Ahead of the 2020 Bihar assembly polls, the LJP quit the BJP-led NDA alliance after an unhappy Chirag Paswan rejected an offer to contest 20 seats. (Twitter)

Ahead of the 2020 Bihar assembly polls, the LJP quit the BJP-led NDA alliance after an unhappy Chirag Paswan rejected an offer to contest 20 seats. (Twitter)

Chirag Paswan has received tacit support from Tejashwi Yadav and Jitan Ram Manjhi over the late Ram Vilas Paswan’s belongings being thrown out of the Delhi bungalow but he has chosen to keep his cards close to his chest

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan had once famously referred to himself as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Hanuman’. However, after a bitter showdown between him and his estranged uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras — a Union cabinet minister — over his eviction from Delhi’s official bungalow allotted to his late father and former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, equations seem to be changing.

Forced to vacate 12 Janpath, Chirag Paswan said his uncle “should be ashamed that portraits of his brother, whom he called his god, were trampled on by the government in which he is a minister”. Quick to retort, Paras said whatever was happening was “because he (Chirag) betrayed the alliance my brother was a part of”.

Speaking to ThePrint, Chirag Paswan seemed noncommittal when asked if he was still the prime minister’s ‘Hanuman’.

Chirag Paswan said he had made the remark when his father was on the ventilator. “The PM at that time not only kept calling me, but also the doctors who were treating him (Ram Vilas Paswan). PM Modi was like a guardian and I was deeply indebted to him for standing by me at the time of crisis,” the LJP MP from Bihar’s Jamui seat said.

As the state gears up for assembly election three years away, Chirag Paswan is keeping his options open. He has found tacit support in Bihar’s Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav as well as former CM and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner Jitan Ram Manjhi, who slammed the manner in which late Ram Vilas Paswan’s belongings were thrown out of the Lutyens’ Delhi bungalow he lived in for 30 years. However, the LJP leader is mum about his plans for 2025.

What happened in the 2020 polls?

Ahead of the 2020 Bihar assembly polls, the LJP quit the BJP-led NDA alliance after an unhappy Chirag Paswan rejected an offer to contest 20 seats.

Soon, the LJP decided to fight from all 122 seats on which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) fielded its candidates as an NDA ally.

During the elections, several senior BJP leaders quit the party and crossed over to the LJP. Though PM Modi chose to not attack Chirag Paswan during campaigning, state leaders like Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and BJP’s Bihar unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal claimed that Chirag Paswan was trying to confuse voters and LJP was not a part of the NDA in Bihar.

While the LJP managed to win only one seat in the assembly polls, it struck a blow to the JDU, winning 5.5 per cent of the votes and ensuring that JDU candidates lost in more than 40 assembly seats. This also reduced Nitish Kumar’s party to ‘junior partner’ status within the NDA, with just 43 seats.

However, Chirag Paswan’s happiness was short-lived. Defections from his party to the JD(U) meant the Paswan scion lost its sole MLA in April 2021. He was also denied the Rajya Sabha seat that fell vacant after his father’s death, which Chirag wanted for his mother Reena Paswan.

Yet another blow followed in October 2021 when the LJP split and Chirag’s uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras took five Lok Sabha MPs, leaving his nephew isolated. Paras took oath as a Union cabinet minister in April 2021.

The 12, Janpath controversy

On March 30, Chirag Paswan received yet another setback when housing ministry officials entered 12, Janpath — the official bungalow of Ram Vilas Paswan for over three decades — and threw out his belongings.

An upset Chirag said he was assured that there would be no issues with his stay at the bungalow and blamed CM Nitish Kumar and his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras for “creating pressure” on the Centre.

“My uncle should be ashamed that portraits of his brother, whom he called his god, were trampled on by the government in which he is a minister,” Chirag said.

Dismissing the charges, Paras said had Chirag Paswan remained in the alliance, he would have faced no problem. He added that so far as the bungalow was concerned, he got six notices and lost in the Delhi High Court.

What next for the Paswan scion?

According to a senior party leader who spoke to ThePrint, the LJP chief has made no indication of what his strategy will be for the 2025 state assembly elections and will wait and watch before taking the final call.

The bypolls for two assembly seats last year saw his candidates lose their deposits, but he still had more votes than the Congress candidates.

Now, it’s a fight for survival for Chirag Paswan who is looking to retain his political relevance as well as his father’s rich legacy.

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first published:April 07, 2022, 08:45 IST
last updated:April 07, 2022, 08:45 IST