India

From Chirag Paswan, A Countermove: A New Chief For LJP's Bihar Unit

From Chirag Paswan, A Countermove: A New Chief For LJP's Bihar Unit

Chirag Paswan's cousin Prince Raj, one of the five MPs who rebelled on Monday, held the post.

New Delhi:

The fight over the control of the Lok Janshakti Party -- split down the middle over a feud I the Paswan family -- continued till late on Wednesday with Chirag Paswan making a fresh appointment. Removed from the party's top post by the rebel faction of the party led by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, Mr Paswan named his right hand man Raju Tiwari as the party's Bihar unit president, reported news agency ANI.

The post was held by Mr Paswan's cousin Prince Raj -- one of the five MPs who rebelled on Monday under the leadership of Mr Paras and asked the Lok Sabha Speaker recognize them as a separate group.

Isolated within the party by the coup, Chirag Paswan declared himself a "sher ka bachcha" (a lion cub) at a media conference earlier today, indicating that he was ready for a fight.

At the same time, he kept up an emotional approach, saying he became an "orphan" after his uncle left him and not when he lost his father.

Mr Paras has spurned all attempts at reconciliation. Mr Paswan's compromise formula of naming his mother the party chief was not even given a hearing.

The 71-year-old has claimed that he had been snubbed and humiliated by his nephew after the death of his brother Ramvilas Paswan. The feud had escalated over Chirag Paswan's decision to break away from the NDA during the Bihar elections and contest against Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United.

On Tuesday, the rebel faction removed Chirag Paswan as the party chief at an "emergency meeting", citing the party rule of "One man one post".  Chirag Paswan, they pointed out, held three, and promised to elect a new chief shortly. Suraj Bhan Singh was named the party's interim president.

Mr Paswan retaliated by "expelling" Pashupati Paras and the other MPs who revolted against him. He has also written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, contesting his decision to name Mr Paras as the leader of the party in the House, saying it is "contrary" to provisions of his organisation.

Mr Paswan's suporters – upset over his removal as the party chief – had vandalised the party office in Patna on Tuesday, shouting slogans and waving black flags. After they were dispersed by the  police, they sat on the roadside in protest.

The opposition Rashtriya Janata dal has sent feelers to Paswan Junior, claiming that he has been betrayed by the BJP who used him to destroy NItish Kumar's primacy in the alliance. RJD leaders also claimed that Chirag Paswan was the real leader of the party since he was named its national president during the lifetime of party founder and his father Ramvilas Paswan.