Union Minister Pashupati Paras Resigns as BJP Allies With Chirag Paswan's Party

In this deal, the RLJP, led by Paras, was entirely marginalized, receiving zero seats, while Chirag Paswan's LJP was allocated five seats, including the Hajipur constituency previously held by Paras in the 2019 election.
Union Minister Pashupati Paras Resigns as BJP Allies With Chirag Paswan's Party
Union Minister Pashupati Paras Resigns as BJP Allies With Chirag Paswan's Party

Union Minister Pashupati Paras on Tuesday morning, tendered his resignation and withdrew the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party from the BJP-led national alliance. This move followed the confirmation by the BJP of a seat-sharing agreement with Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, the nephew of Paras.

In this deal, the RLJP, led by Paras, was entirely marginalized, receiving zero seats, while Chirag Paswan's LJP was allocated five seats, including the Hajipur constituency previously held by Paras in the 2019 election.

Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi but citing perceived injustice, Mr. Paras stated, "The NDA deal has been announced. I am grateful to the Prime Minister. My party and I faced injustice. So I am resigning as minister."

While Mr. Paras remained non-committal regarding potential alliances with the opposition, including both the state-level Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance and the national-level INDIA bloc led by the Congress, he confirmed that his RLJP would contest the Hajipur seat.

Last week, amidst reports of concluded Bihar deals with the BJP and being sidelined, Paras asserted that his RLJP, comprising five MPs, including himself, would contest the seats they previously won, implying a willingness to explore options within the opposition. Paras, having won Hajipur five years ago under the then-undivided Lok Janshakti Party, was part of the faction led by Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan's father.

The decision by the national party to align with Chirag Paswan's faction of the LJP underscores the perception that he now commands the community vote. The Paswan community represents approximately six percent of the voting population in Bihar. However, potential discord may arise as Chirag Paswan and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) have strained relations. The Chief Minister holds the LJP accountable for his party's underperformance in the 2020 Assembly election, following the split initiated by Paras after Ram Vilas Paswan's demise.

The rift allegedly supported by the BJP resulted in the younger Paswan contesting independently, leading to vote division and ultimately benefiting the BJP. This time, with the BJP set to contest more than half of Bihar's 40 Lok Sabha seats, it signals a strengthened position vis-à-vis Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United).

In contrast to the 2019 arrangement where both BJP and JDU contested 17 seats each, the BJP now retains 17 seats while allocating 16 to the JDU. This realignment signifies the BJP's growing influence within the state alliance.

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