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Paswan retires, but no worries his family is in the fray

By M I Khan
Last updated on: March 25, 2019 15:03 IST
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'The sapling that I planted has turned into a fully grown tree and is now giving flowers and fruits for us.'
M I Khan reports from Patna.

Ram Vilas Paswan, left and his son Chirag Paswan, right, flank Bharatiya Janata Party national President Amit Anilchandra Shah.

IMAGE: Ram Vilas Paswan, left and his son Chirag Paswan, right, flank Bharatiya Janata Party national President Amit Anilchandra Shah.

Lok Janshakti Party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will not contest this year's Lok Sabha election, but two younger brothers and his son Chirag will be LJP candidates in Bihar.

Ram Vilas Paswan, who began his electoral career 50 years ago and remains active in politics, announced in January that he would not contest the parliamentary poll from Hajipur, his traditional stronghold.

This decision came nearly 42 years after he won the Hajipur Lok Sabha seat by 424,000 votes, a feat that established a Guinness World Record. Since then, Paswan has contested the Hajipur seat 10 times and won it 8 times.

 

Paswan's younger brother and Bihar LJP President Pasupati Kumar Paras, a state minister, will contest the Lok Sabha election from Hajipur. The LJP is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.

Chirag Paswan, an unsuccessful actor-turned-politician, will be the LJP nominee in Jamui while his uncle Ram Chander Paswan will contest the Samastipur seat. Both Chirag and Ramchander won their seats in the 2014 general election.

All three parliamentary seats are reserved for scheduled caste candidates.

"I am happy and satisfied that the sapling that I planted has turned into a fully grown tree and is now giving flowers and fruits for us," Ram Vilas Paswan said, minutes before Chirag filed his nomination papers in Jamui on Monday, March 25.

Ram Vilas Paswan is an iconic figure among members of the Paswan caste for whom there is a slogan, 'Upar aasmaan, neeche Paswan (there is the sky above and Paswan below).'

Pasupati Kumar Paras is addressed as Chotte Sarkar while Chirag is called Saheb by LJP leaders and workers. "No one can take their names," a LJP leader told Rediff.com in Patna.

The LJP will contest the Lok Sabha election from six seats in Bihar, three of which are reserved for members of the Paswan family.

Builder Chandan Kumar Singh, younger brother of former LJP MP Surajbhan Singh, will contest the Nawada seat. Chandan Kumar Singh belongs to the powerful Bhumihar caste.

The LJP has fielded Veena Devi, a member of the influential Rajput caste, from Vaishali.

The party has not yet declared its candidate from Khagaria.

Paswan, political observers say, has a grip over his caste, locally known as Dusadh, and has the ability to transfer the community's votes to other NDA candidates.

The NDA will contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. The BJP will contest 17 seats as will the Janata Dal-United. Six seats have been marked for the LJP.

The NDA won 31 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. Of this, the BJP won 22 seats, the LJP 6 and the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party three.

The RLSP has joined the RJD-led Grand Alliance for this election.

The JD-U, not part of the NDA then, had contested the 2014 election on its own and won only two seats, Purnea and Nalanda.

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M I Khan in Patna
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