BJP abandoned me, says Chirag Paswan

New Delhi: LJP leader Chirag Paswan addresses at national executive meeting in New Delhi, Sunday, June 20, 2021. (PTI Photo/Atul Yadav)(PTI06_20_2021_000056B)  

Days after the coup spearheaded by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, beleaguered president of the Lok Janshakti Party Chirag Paswan speaks on role of the JD (U) and BJP and betrayal by loved ones, insisting that most of the party is still with him.

Do you regret your decision to go it alone in the Bihar Assembly elections 2020 and campaign against JD (U)?

Not at all. The kind of support I am getting from people of my State is only because I contested that election alone. Everybody wanted an alternative to Nitish Kumar. The LJP was only offered 15 seats in the alliance. Had I agreed to it, by the time of the next election, the only option left for the LJP would have been to merge with a regional or a national party. Moreover, you cannot go ahead with someone who doesn’t respect your ideology. Nitish Kumar wants to dictate his agenda without giving space to any other ally.

Coalition governments are run on a common minimum programme. And most importantly how could I go with someone who has humiliated my father, tried to defame, defeat and destroy him? This is not the first time he is breaking my party. He did it in 2005, when he poached the LJP MLAs after the February election, he took away the lone LJP MLA who won from Matihani. This has been his practice.

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Today whoever is claiming that Nitish Kumar is the “Vikas Purush” is actually betraying my father and going against his policies. Let them remember that LJP has never been in alliance with JD (U), except for 2019. And that too is because the JD (U) decided to return to NDA. Our alliance was with the BJP

Who do you hold responsible for breaking away from the LJP? Is it the BJP or JD (U)?

It is an ironical question. How can I blame anyone when my own family members deserted me? They stabbed my back — my uncle (Pashupati Kumar Paras), my brother (Prince Raj)... my brother was like a son to me. But as I said, JD (U) has always been inclined to break parties. And especially, the JD (U) has always been after dividing the Dalit leadership. They were after my father and now against me. They divided Dalits and Mahadalits, making a sub-division among Scheduled Castes. They cannot accept that a Dalit is in such a strong position. I got 25 lakh votes and 6% vote share. This when I only contested on 135 seats not all the 243 seats.

Also read: Chirag Paswan says Paras betrayed him when he was bedridden

But didn’t your calculations go awry? Your campaign affected the NDA’s tally and benefitted RJD. Don’t you think the BJP has abandoned you just for this reason?

Yes, I do feel that they have abandoned me. No one from BJP has contacted me. This hurts, because me and my father Ram Vilas Paswan wholeheartedly supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior leadership of the BJP. Nobody was ready to join hands with Narendra Modi ji. My father was the first one to cross over and hold Mr Modi’s hand. Nitish Kumar, one must remember, left him. We stood by him whether it was Ram Mandir, Article 370, CAA, Triple Talaq. I doubt that JD (U) has stood with them on all these issues. I want to know what Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s stand is on CAA/NRC? Today, when I need them, I expected them to at least reach out to me. So far I haven’t heard from them.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla recognised Pashupati Nath Paras’ claim as parliamentary leader without any delay. Doesn’t this clearly indicate BJP’s hand in the coup?

I would not want to read between the lines. I met Mr. Birla on Saturday and I explained the LJP’s process of selecting the parliamentary leader. I did tell him that he should have at least spoken to me before making this decision. Even the rule book of the Parliament defines this very clearly, that the parliamentary party leader has to be decided by the party, not by the members. The MPs may come and go. The parties are here to stay.

Analysis | LJP coup part of JD(U) housekeeping

The charge against you by the Paras group is that you are autocratic and you were impervious to advice. Your reaction?

Had I been autocratic I wouldn’t have had the support of 66 members of LJP’s National Executive. Only nine members of the national executive, including the five MPs, left the party. Out of 135 candidates, 114 have submitted an open letter of support to me. Only four district presidents in Bihar have gone with them. If I was autocratic, then why did so many of them decide to stay back with me.

The differences between your uncle Pashupati Nath Paras and you started way back in November 2019, when you took over the party., Why were these differences not sorted in the last two-years?

If he had an issue, he should have come to us or summoned me. But how can differences be sorted without communication. Till the very last minute I knocked at his door. If you want to become a minister, please be. If you wanted to be the National President of LJP, please be. After my father’s death, it was only my uncle. I am truly orphaned today, with him gone.

What is the way forward for you?

I will go back to the people of Bihar. I need their blessings now that my own elders have betrayed me. I am ready to fight this battle to the end. I will not concede my party symbol or name. I have all legal evidence to support my claim. I told hon’ble Speaker Mr Birla, that while I trust him, I am ready to take the fight to the highest forum. I will not leave the party that my father built with his sweat and blood. These people have not betrayed me, they have betrayed my father.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:28:00 PM |

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