File image of LJP MP Pashupati Kumar Paras (Image: PTI)
Senior Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader and parliamentarian Pashupati Kumar Paras was named as the party's new leader in Lok Sabha on June 14. This came shortly after four other LJP MPs backed him as their new leader in the Parliament's Lower House, unseating the incumbent Chirag Paswan.
Five of the six LJP MPs, including Paras, wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla earlier in the day, seeking the replacement of Paras with Paswan as LJP's Lok Sabha leader.
On the basis of the five LJP lawmakers' letter, the Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a circular to formally appoint Paras as the party's new leader in the Lower House. Paras, notably, is the uncle of Paswan and younger brother of LJP's late patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan.
The LJP's rebel parliamentary group includes MPs Prince Raj, Chandan Singh, Veena Devi and Mehboob Ali Kaiser, apart from Paras. They have long been unsatisfied with Paswan's style of leadership, news agency PTI reported citing sources.
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After the rebellion was out in the open, Paswan rushed to Delhi earlier in the day to meet his uncle. However, Paras did not issue him an appointment.
Paras, who represents the party's bastion of Hajipur in Lok Sabha, told reporters that around "99 percent of LJP workers" are against the junior Paswan. The group headed by him is likely to approach the Election Commission seeking their recognition as the real LJP.
While Paras' rebellion has been dubbed as a "coup" against his nephew, he has justified his action, calling it "necessary to save the party". He also indicated a likely rapprochement with former ally Janata Dal (United), as he described Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a "man of development".
The reigns of LJP were taken over by Paswan in 2019. In the Bihar assembly polls 2020 - held months after the demise of his father Ram Vilas Paswan - the LJP suffered a rout and secured victory in only one out of the 134 seats contested.