Breaking silence over the drama in the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) following the coup ousting him as its President, Chirag Paswan on Wednesday said that he tried his best to keep the family and the party united but failed, and termed the way in which his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras was elected party leader “illegal”.
He also defended his decision to contest last year’s Bihar Assembly elections solo saying he did not want to buckle down to Chief Minister and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar.
Addressing a press conference here at his residence, Chirag Paswan said: “Our fight is long, I don’t think one press conference can clear all things.”
“Till the end, I tried my best to keep the family and thee party united. I even went to my uncle’s house. My mother also tried to speak to uncle. But all went in vain.
“And when we realised that everything has gone out of hand, we called a virtual meeting of National Executive and took disciplinary action against them (the rebel MPs),” he said.
The LJP National Executive on Tuesday sacked five party MPs, including Paras, from the party for anti-party activities.
Chirag Paswan said: “People said they removed me from party President’s post and from the post of leader of the LJP in the Lok Sabha. But the way in which they were elected as leader of party is not legal, it is illegal.”
Citing the party’s constitution, he said: “Power of the (parliamentary) board resides with the President of the LJP. Sitting MPs cannot take decision on their own, it has to be taken by the National Executive.”
He also said that the LJP constitution says that post of party President can be filled only after the existing President dies or resigns wilfully.
“My uncle was elected as leader of the party in LS illegally. If my uncle would have spoken to me, I would have given him the post,” Chirag Paswan said.
About his father and party founder, the late Ram Vilas Paswan, he said: “All of you have seen that on October 8, my father passed away and we had to go to the (Bihar) polls.
“It was a tough time for us. Those 40 days I didn’t get time to think about my father. But after the elections, I spent time with family,” he said.
On his decision to go solo in Assembly elections, he said: “We had decided to go solo in Bihar and we fought bravely.”
He said that the LJP got a major victory. “Earlier, the LJP was called one per cent or two per cent votes party, but this time, we got more than 6 per cent vote share,” he said, asserting that the LJP didn’t compromise on its principles even after Assembly elections.
“After elections and before elections, few people from the party and few people from Janata Dal-United (JD-U) tried to break our party. My father told me, when he was in ICU, about attempts to break the party. He also spoke to my uncle,” he said.
Chirag Paswan said that this was clear that few people were not ready to struggle and were happy in an alliance.
“And if we had to go to NDA alliance, then we have to fall on the feet of Nitish Kumar,” he said.
He said that he had no faith in Nitish Kumar’s seven promises, as they were not enough to fulfill the aspirations of people of Bihar. “And thus I didn’t go with NDA. And few people were not happy. My uncle and party MPs were not campaigning for the party in Bihar. The kind of support which was expected was not given,” he alleged.
He also said that after elections, he spent time with family and also suffered from typhoid.
“And when I was unwell, few people backstabbed me. I wrote on March 29 about the loneliness and asked my uncle to speak to me about the party issues but he kept himself away,” Chirag said about the letter he wrote to Paras.
Asked about the allegations of sexual molestation by a woman party worker against his cousin Prince Raj, who is also one of the rebel MPs, he said: “The matter of the sexual molestation came to me on January this year, if I remember correctly. Then I tried to bring both the parties together to discuss the matter as both had different versions to narrate.”
The rift in the LJP has been wide open since Monday after five of the LJP’s six MPs –Paras, Prince Raj, Mehboob Ali Kaiser, Veena Devi and Chandan Singh rebeled against Chirag Paswan and removed as leader of the party in Lok Sabha.
The rebel MPs also removed Chirag Paswan as party President on Tuesday afternoon.
The LJP was formed by Ram Vilas Paswan 21 years ago.