Chirag Paswan, who is locked in a fierce tussle with his uncle and rebel party MP Pashupati Kumar Paras to gain control of the Lok Janshakti Party, received a rousing welcome on Monday in Patna and Hajipur from where he embarked on his Aashirwad Yatra across the State on the occasion of the birth anniversary of his late father and founder of the party Ram Vilas Paswan.
The rival group led by Mr. Paras also celebrated Ram Vilas Paswan’s birth anniversary, with his supporters, at the State party headquarters in Patna.
A large number of LJP leaders and supporters welcomed Chirag Paswan at the Patna airport with slogans attacking his uncle and party leader Pashupati Kumar Paras for his “betrayal”. Hundreds of cars and bikes followed Mr. Paswan’s carcade which, after a brief stopover at his house in Patna, moved to the statue of B.R. Ambedkar near the Patna High Court. Mr. Paswan wanted to offer floral tribute at the statue before embarking on his Yatra, but the iron gate of the premises was locked. He and his supporters then proceeded to sit on a dharna for some time.
“We had informed the district administration in advance about our programme,” said Mr. Paswan. His supporters shouted slogans against the Bihar government and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Later, Mr. Paswan and his supporters left for Hajipur in Vaishali district, from where his father Ram Vilas Paswan had won elections several times, to embark on his Aashirwad Yatra. His carcade grew in number and hundreds of party workers and leaders welcomed Mr. Paswan in Hajipur, now represented by his uncle Mr. Paras in Parliament. “I’m beginning my yatra from Hajipur because it was my father’s karmbhoomi (land of labour) and will take this yatra to every district of the State”, Mr. Paswan told media persons in Delhi before setting off on his journey.
On the other hand, leader of the rebel group Mr. Paras presided over a function at the party headquarters near the Patna airport to mark the birth anniversary of party founder Ram Vilas Paswan. Mr. Paras said his nephew Chirag Paswan had gone astray, forcing him to part ways with him. Mr Paras, speaking to media persons, also reiterated his demand for Bharat Ratna for his elder brother and founding president of the party Ram Vilas Paswan.
In an apparent show of strength, supporters of the LJP faction led by Mr. Paras had gathered in large numbers at the party office.