- Chirag Paswan removed on principle of "One Man, One Post" by rebel MPs
- Rebels want to remove Paswan as LJP parliamentary board leader: Sources
- Suraj Bhan to function as working president of the party
Chirag Paswan, isolated in his party by a coup led by his uncle, was removed as Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president today in an "emergency meeting" of rebel MPs who are now calling the shots. Soon after the announcement, he retaliated by "expelling" uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras and four other MPs who have revolted against him, making it a fight between two factions of the LJP.
Chirag Paswan's supporters blackened posters at the LJP office in Delhi, which doubles up as Pashupati Paras's home, and tried to take over the building.
Chirag Paswan was removed as national president of LJP on the principle of "One Man, One Post", said the rebels, adding that he held three. According to sources, the rebels intend to strip him of every position of power he has held since he took over from his father and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan.
According to the Paras group, Suraj Bhan will function as working president until a new president is elected and by the end of this week, Pashupati Kumar Paras's takeover of his brother's party will be complete.
Chirag Paswan will find tougher than his uncle, given that five of the six LJP Lok Sabha MPs have revolted and he is the sixth.
Yesterday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla accepted Pashupati Paras as the new leader of the LJP in the house, virtually giving a seal of approval on his accession. If the feud goes to court, the Speaker's endorsement will strengthen the rebels' claim.
Mr Paras, the younger brother of Ram Vilas Paswan and the lead player in the coup launched with help from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the BJP, had earlier snubbed his nephew's attempts at reconciliation. Yesterday, he refused to meet Chirag Paswan, who waited at his doorstep for an hour and 45 minutes.
Paswan Junior posted an emotional tweet today and shared a letter he had written to his uncle in March.
"I tried very hard to keep the party formed by my father and my family united, but I failed. Party is like a mother and we must never betray our mother. People are above all else in a democracy. I thank those who had faith in the party," he wrote.
Seeds of revolt were sown last year when Chirag Paswan decided to break away from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the November Bihar election and focus his energies on defeating ally Nitish Kumar.
While the LJP won just one assembly seat out of Bihar's 243, its main contribution was to shave off at least 32 seats from the tally of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United (JDU). For Nitish Kumar, it meant a vastly diminished status in the NDA with the BJP emerging as the dominant partner.
After the polls, the Bihar Chief Minister made it clear that he did not want Chirag to have anything to do with the NDA - or the BJP for that matter.
Sources say senior JDU leader Lallan Singh and a BJP Rajya Sabha MP told Mr Paras that he could become a part of the NDA in Bihar and the Centre only if Chirag Paswan was not in command.
The decision to topple Mr Paswan was taken in a meeting in Patna on Saturday.
Mr Paras believes his election as LJP's national president will improve his chances of an entry into the Union Cabinet.