- Chirag Paswan said he is ready for a legal fight against the rebel group
- The leader also defended his decision to contest Bihar polls without NDA
- We may have to fight a long legal battle, Chirag Paswan said
Chirag Paswan, fighting for survival after a coup in the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by his uncle, said Wednesday that he was ready for a legal fight against the rebel group, declaring that he was "the son of Ram Vilas Paswan, a sher ka bachcha".
Addressing his first press conference since the crisis exploded, the sidelined LJP leader also defended decisions like contesting the Bihar election separately from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which was one of the reasons for his feud with his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras.
"Today (Wednesday) I have become an orphan after my uncle left me. Not when I lost my father," said Paswan Junior, in comments that oscillated between tough and emotional.
"When I was ill, the plan (coup) was made and executed by others."
Pashupati Paras and four other MPs on Monday broke away and asked the Speaker to recognize them as a separate group, leaving Chirag Paswan, their leader, alone in what was a group of six MPs in the Lok Sabha.
Mr Paras has rebuffed all attempts at a rapprochement and has been cold to Chirag Paswan's reported compromise formula, to install his mother as LJP president in his place.
"Till yesterday afternoon my mother and I tried to establish contact with my uncle. If you had asked me, I would have made you party's parliamentary board chief," Chirag Paswan told reporters.
"We may have to fight a long legal battle on how the rebel group elected someone as its chairman."
Pashupati Paras had been ranged against his nephew ever since he announced a solo fight. The 71-year-old first-time MP and six-term MLA had been strongly opposed to breaking away from the NDA, but Chirag Paswan had been firm on pitching Nitish Kumar as the enemy.
The disenchantment within the party grew when LJP ended up with just one seat out of 243. But the LJP did make a bigger impact on the tally of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, which finished third and lost its pole position in the state compared to ally BJP.
Many believe Chief Minister Nitish Kumar got payback by helping LJP rebels bring down Chirag Paswan.
Chirag Paswan reiterated Wednesday that he considered it a win.
"We got huge support of people in the Bihar election, we got six per cent votes," he said.
"There were several reports of JDU trying to break the party. We saw that it was not possible for us to continue in an alliance with JDU. There were some people who wanted to live in the comfort zone. I agree and accept, if LJP would have gone with the JDU and NDA in Bihar, we would have swept the Bihar polls," he added, accusing his uncle of not making enough effort.
While blaming the JDU for the split, however, Mr Paswan dodged questions on the role of the BJP and added that what was happening in his party was an "internal matter" for which he would not target others.