Union minister threatens to leave NDA over seat-sharing dispute

Pashupati Paras's disappointment with the BJP comes days after the party struck a seat-sharing deal with his nephew Chirag Paswan

Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party chief Pashupati Kumar Paras at a press conference in New Delhi (photo: PTI)
Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party chief Pashupati Kumar Paras at a press conference in New Delhi (photo: PTI)
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PTI

Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras on Friday accused the BJP of not doing justice to his faction of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and indicated that he may walk out of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), saying they are "free" to go anywhere and the "doors are open".

His expression of disappointment with the BJP came days after the ruling party struck a seat-sharing deal with his nephew Chirag Paswan, who heads another faction of the LJP, ignoring the Union minister's claim over a number of Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, including Hajipur.

Upping the ante, he asserted that he will contest from Hajipur, which has been a bone of contention between him and Paswan. His nephew has indicated that his party will contest from the seat, asserting that the BJP has addressed all his concerns.

The LJP, which was led by the late Ram Vilas Paswan, split into two after his demise in 2020. His brother Paras leads the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP) and his son Chirag Paswan the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), both part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Addressing a press conference here, Paras expressed disappointment with the BJP for not giving "due preference" to his party on the issue of seat-sharing in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls and said the BJP leadership should reconsider its decision.

He said the RLJP has been an "honest ally" of the BJP and its leadership should have taken a decision keeping in mind that his party has five MPs in the state.

Paras said his party has fulfilled its "friendship" with the BJP so far. "But, justice has not been done to our party. We will wait for the official announcement of candidates by the BJP and then take a decision," he said.

"Today, our parliamentary board members held a meeting. According to media reports, the NDA has not given our party due preference in seat-sharing in Bihar. Because of this, there is a lot of disappointment among our party workers," the RLJP chief said.

He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah and BJP chief J.P. Nadda to “reconsider” their decision on seat sharing in Bihar, keeping in mind that “our party has five MPs in the state”.

"If we are not given due respect, we are free to go anywhere. Our doors are open. This is all I have to say today," he said, adding "Our party is not a group of saints. In democratic system, people are supreme".

Asked if he plans to join the RJD-led alliance in Bihar, the RLJP chief said he has not spoken to them so far. “We will wait for the official announcement of the NDA candidates in Bihar and then take a decision,” he said. He also asserted that he will contest from Hajipur and his MPs too from the seats they were elected in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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