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Chirag stakes claim to LJP symbol for Bihar bypolls

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan. File   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party has claimed the right to use party’s name and symbol for the upcoming bypoll on two Assembly seats in Bihar, and has written to the Election Commission to reject the claim of his estranged uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras to be party president.

The bypoll on two seats — Tarapur in Munger and Kusheshwarsthan in Darbhanga — is scheduled for October 30 with results to be announced on November 2.

Mr Paras and four other party MPs had rebelled against Mr. Paswan and announced to be the real LJP. Mr Paras was later inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet.

“Paras’s claim of being the party president also violates the party’s constitution,” said Abdul Khaliq, general secretary of the LJP(Chirag faction).

“The election that Paras claims made him party president does not fulfil the requirement of Rule 15 of the Election Symbol (Reservation and Allotment) order, 1968,” the letter to the EC from Mr. Chirag Paswan on September 23 said.

Besides, said Mr Khaliq, “At the national executive meeting held on June 15, 2021, in Patna it was unanimously decided to expel Paras and four other party MPs for anti-party activities.”

Counter assertion

However, Mr Paras has asserted that LJP and its election symbol — the bungalow — belonged to his faction only.

“I have been recognised by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha as LJP Parliamentary party leader and I was also nominated as the national president of the LJP by the national executive committee. Besides, I’ve also been nominated as a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet on LJP quota.” he said addressing local media in Patna.

He added, “We’re the real LJP as we have the majority and there should not be any confusion over who is the real heir of party’s founder late Ram Vilas Paswan.”

JD(U) strongholds

Both Tarapur and Kusheshwarsthan were held by the ruling JD(U) and fell vacant after the death of MLAs Mewalal Choudhury and Sashi Bhushan Hazari respectively. The party has been working hard to retain both seats and party sources told The Hindu that the name of candidates has “almost been finalised”.

Names of Aman Choudhury, son of former party MLA Sashi Bhushan Choudhary from Kusheshwarsthan and Shubhanand Mukesh, son of former senior state Congress leader Sadanand Singh, or, Rajeev Singh on Tarapur seat are doing the rounds.

The Opposition mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) parties — Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress — too have been mulling over candidates for the seats. The Congress has formed a five-member committee to decide its candidate on the Kusheshwarsthan (reserved) seat. In the 2020 Assembly election, the Congress candidate Ashok Ram was defeated by JD(U)’s Sashi Bhushan Hazari.

Meanwhile, the RJD has announced that it will contest both the seats. In 2020, Divya Prakash, daughter of senior RJD leader Jai Prakash Yadav was the mahagathbandhan candidate for Tarapur but she was defeated by Mewalal Choudhury by over 7,000 votes.

Party leaders have said, “RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav will be taking the final decision on the candidates soon”. In his virtual address to party workers recently, Mr Prasad had exhorted them work hard for the by-polls and ensure win of the candidates to be fielded by the mahagathbandhan.

Nomination for the bypolls, which began on Friday, close on October 8.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 6:04:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/chirag-stakes-claim-to-ljp-symbol-for-bihar-bypolls/article36778118.ece

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