Chirag Paswan, fighting his uncle Pashupati Paras for control of his Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), broke down today on his father's birth anniversary saying, "I am Ram Vilas Paswan ji's son, sher ka beta hoon main (I am a lion's son). Like papa was never scared, I will also never be scared."
With a quivering voice, Paswan junior said that he will fight and win as well - an oblique reference to the coup in his party last month where he was sidelined by his uncle.
"No matter how much people try to break us or make us bow down - like papa always walked on path of truth without getting scared, just like that we will also fight and we will win," the former actor-turned-politician said in Hindi amid chants of 'Chirag Paswan zindabad'.
#WATCH | LJP leader Chirag Paswan breaks down during the book launch of his late father Ram Vilas Paswan, on his birth anniversary. He says, "I am the son of a lion, will never be scared, no matter how much people try to break us..." pic.twitter.com/rh6qC5v53y— ANI (@ANI) July 5, 2021
The LJP, in an overnight coup, plunged into a crisis last month after five out of the party's six lawmakers rebelled against Chirag Paswan's leadership. He was then replaced as the LJP chief by Mr Paras who orchestrated the coup. The 71-year-old is a first time MP and a six-time MLA.
Hardly left with any MP or MLA, Mr Paswan today drew a huge crowd of supporters from Patna to Hajipur making it clear that leaders may have deserted him but voters continue to be on his side.
After the coup, Chirag Paswan said that he was ready for a long legal battle to fight the rebels and reassert his claim over the party founded by his father. "I am the son of Ram Vilas Paswan, sher ka bachcha," Mr Paswan had then declared as well.
Today, oscillating between emotional and strong, Paswan junior spoke at a book launch event - the last one written by his father, who was a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet before he died last year.
"Papa wrote this book when he was alive. We had thought we would have a big event and launch the book, but fate wanted something else," the 39-year-old said amid chants of 'Ram Vilas Paswan amar rahe (immortal)'.
Chirag Paswan was also overwhelmed as everyone paid tributes to his father - from PM Modi to Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders - and expressed his gratitude. But his camp also heaved a sigh of relief when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decided to ignore and didn't tweet about it.
Pashupati Paras fell out with nephew Chirag over a range of issues including their disagreement over Nitish Kumar.
Chirag Paswan, after being ousted as party chief, told NDTV that he had expected PM Modi to stand by him at his worst hour after supporting him whole-heartedly and "doing everything possible for him like Hanuman". He also accused his uncle of betraying his father.