In what can be read as a sign of muted dissent, LJP chief Chirag Paswan has installed a bust of his father, Late Ram Vilas Paswan, wearing his trademark bandhgala at 12, Janpath, where the former minister lived for over three decades with his family. The development comes amid the Paswan family being asked to vacate the bungalow after the patriarch’s death.
In July, Chirag and other occupants of the 12, Janpath bungalow were issued an eviction notice by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, asking them to vacate the accommodation that had been allotted to his late father. The bungalow has now been allotted to Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
The bungalow has been the official address of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) which was regularly holding its organisational meetings and other related events there. Ram Vilas Paswan, one of the most prominent Dalit leaders of the country, had died at the age of 74 in October last year.
He was a minister in central governments headed by parties of contrasting ideological persuasions, ranging from the Janata Dal to the Congress and the BJP, since 1989.
While the family was supposed to have vacated the bungalow within a year of Paswan’s death, a deadline that runs out next month, sources close to Chirag said they have got an extension of a few more months.
Now, the installation of the bust may have complicated matters. The BJP leadership fears that Chirag could “politicise the issue” by refusing to move out.
Chirag has been on a tour across Bihar to rally support around his leadership.
Meanwhile, no demand to vacate the premises immediately has been made by Vaishnaw. Although, he would need to move to a bigger residence sooner than later given his official requirements as he occupies Cabinet portfolio for three major departments — Railways, Information and Technology, and Communication.
Sources said that Chirag has sought an extension of stay with the government, stating that he is undertaking a yatra in the memory of his father in Bihar. Those close to the young MP said the family wants to retain the house till the first death anniversary of Paswan.