Pashupati Nath Paras, who had been hogging headlines for locking horns with his nephew Chirag Paswan, was on Wednesday sworn-in in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet. Paras, MP from Hajipur, was on Wednesday inducted in the Narendra Modi-led government as cabinet minister and given the charge of the key Ministry of Food Processing Industries. The portfolio was earlier with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.
Paras, whose “kurta shopping” a day ago had generated buzz that he was preparing for his Delhi innings, had told reporters that “raaz ko raaz rehne do (let secrets stay secrets)”, refusing to divulge details about the reshuffle.
The younger brother of former Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who passed away after an illness, Paras was unanimously elected as the leader of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in the Lok Sabha after five of the six MPs of the LJP joined hands against Chirag Paswan and rallied behind Paras.
It has been reported that the ‘rebels’ were unhappy with the style of functioning of Chirag, who took over the party reins after his father died in 2020.
Amid reports of his uncle getting an invite to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Union Cabinet, Chirag Paswan said Paras could not be appointed a minister from the LJP quota since he is no longer a part of the party.
Chirag said he had written to the Election Commission about Paras and would write to PM Modi to convey the same. “He can be made minister as an Independent but if he is made minister as an LJP MP, then I have an objection to it. If he is made minister from the LJP quota, we will also go to court against it,” he said.
Though Paras got the numbers on his side, he faces the daunting challenge of rallying the Paswan community in the state, who looked upon the former Union minister as their icon, with Chirag expected to leave no stones unturned to project himself as the rightful heir of his father’s legacy.