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Why Paras Surrendered To Mo-Shah

April 02, 2024 12:04 IST
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After the Mahagathbandan rejected his overtures, the need for political survival forced Pashupati Kumar Paras to stick with the NDA.
The BJP may reward him with a governor's post after the election.

IMAGE: Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party chief Pashupati Kumar Paras being garlanded in Patna. Photograph: ANI Photo

In a U-turn for the sake of political survival, Pashupati Kumar Paras -- the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party leader who resigned from the Narendra Modi Cabinet last month after he declared that injustice was done to him over not being given a single Lok Sabha seat to contest in Bihar -- decided his party would support the Bharatiya Janata Party and continue in the National Democratic Alliance.

Paras has decided that neither he nor his party will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, but campaign for the NDA in all 40 seats in the state.

This ended days of speculation over his likely quitting the NDA and joining the Opposition Mahagathbandgan.

Paras shared a photograph with Modi and reposted the Modi ka parivar tag, which he deleted last month after resigning as Union minister.

Paras was angry that the BJP had ignored him and accorded importance to Chirag Paswan, his late brother Ram Vilas Paswan's son.

The BJP top leadership has granted Chirag Paswan's party 5 Lok Sabha constituencies including Hajipur, which Paras currently represents in the Lok Sabha.

Chirag Paswan is the MP from Jamui, a seat he won in the 2014 and 2019 elections. He will contest the 2024 election from Hajipur.

What angered Paras was that the BJP conceded Hajipur to Chirag though his uncle had repeatedly asserted that he would contest the 2024 election from Hajipur.

Sensing that the political ground reality was not in his favour, explains political observer Satyanarayan Madan, Paras surrendered to the NDA so that his party could survive.

According to sources in the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, Paras was disappointed after the Mahagathbandhan announced its seat sharing arrangement -- 26 seats to the Rashtriya Janata Dal, nine seats to the Congress and five to the Left parties -- last week and left him high and dry.

"Parasji was in touch with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav after he resigned from the Modi Cabinet. He was hopeful he would get some seats from the Mahagathbandhan to contest the elections. But it did not materialise and he was left with no other option than to remain with the NDA," Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party sources said.

"Laluji never offered him anything because he knew that Paras hardly enjoys any support base," says a senior RJD leader close to Lalu. "When Paras time and again approached Laluji, he did not agree to give him the seats that Paras demanded."

Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party leaders reveal that Paras has accepted the BJP offer to appoint him governor of a state after the elections. It has also offered a berth in the Bihar cabinet to Prince Raj, the son of Ramchandar Paswan, Paras's brother Ramchandar Paswan.

Prince Raj, the current RLJP MP from Samastipur, will not contest the Lok Sabha elections.

Chirag's LJP (Ram Vilas) has asked Shambhavi Choudhary, whose father Ashok Choudhary is a minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet, to contest the Samastipur seat.

Paras's support to the NDA is a good news for the BJP.

"If Paras has supported the Mahagathbandhan, it could have damaged the NDA in a few seats," Madan said. "In elections, 5,000 to 10,000 votes also matter."

In Bihar's caste-ridden politics, caste equations often decide electoral outcomes.

After careful calculation, the BJP has thrown its weight behind Chirag, who is widely regarded as his father's political successor. Ram Vilas Pawan was considered the undisputed leader of the Dusadhs or Paswan community, which form 5.3 percent of Bihar's population, according to the state's caste survey.

IMAGE: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM Samrat Chaudhary, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan and others pose for a group photograph in Patna, March 28, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Political watchers say Ram Vilas Paswan's importance was his capacity to transfer his caste vote to any coalition or alliance he joined during his long political career.

"As of now Chirag is accepted as the leader of his community though he is yet to prove that he enjoys his father's popularity. This election's result will be a big test for him," says one political observer.

Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP split in 2021 after his death. Paras revolted against Chirag and secured the support of five of the six LJP MPs. Only Chirag opposed him.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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