A day after five rebel Members of Parliament from Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) replaced Chirag Paswan as the party's parliamentary leader with his uncle Pashupati Paras, he has expelled them from the party on Tuesday.
"A national executive meeting was held & decided to remove all the 5 MPs from the party," said LJP leader Raju Tiwari.
When asked if Chirag Paswan was betrayed, Tiwari said, "There is a process of doing things in a party. This will be called a betrayal."
Meanwhile, the Pashupati Paras-led faction has on Tuesday removed Paswan from the post of party president.
Both factions moved swiftly to take control of the party a day after Paras, the youngest brother of Paswan's father and party founder Ram Vilas Paswan, was recognised by the Lok Sabha secretariat as the leader of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in the House.
While Chirag Paswan has been isolated in the parliamentary party as all other MPs beside him have backed Paras, sources told news agency PTI that he continues to draw support from other leaders in the organisation.
The matter is now likely to reach the Election Commission as both factions have claimed to represent the party, reported PTI.
What led to the rebellion?
Paras said 99% of the party workers and leaders were opposed to the style of functioning of Paswan and they were trying for the last six months to save the party from getting written off. Paras also said he has no objection in welcoming his nephew to the party under his (Paras) leadership. He regretted that Chirag had ignored the advice of the party leaders and fielded LJP candidates in all constituencies in last year's Bihar Assembly elections. For the uninitiated, only one candidate Rajkumar Singh won the election and he also joined the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United).
"There are 6 MPs in our party. It was the desire of 5 MPs to save our party. So, I've not broken the party, I've saved it. Chirag Paswan is my nephew as well as party's national president. I have no objection against him," said Paras. "5 MPs have submitted letter to the Speaker, we will go and meet him as and when he orders," he added.
Seeds of rebellion were sown last year:
According to NDTV, the split was inevitable as Paras and Paswan were hardly on talking terms. They used to communicate through letters. Paras, who was considered as Ram Vilas Paswan's Man Friday, was upset after Chirag took control of the party. Reportedly, Paras did not approve of his nephew's decision to contest the Bihar Assembly elections separately.
Moreover, a comment made by Paras praising Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, weeks before the November 2020 polls, had also infuriated Paswan. After the comment, Paswan had threatened to expel his uncle from the party and reportedly said: "You are not my blood." "Your uncle is dead to you from now," Paras reportedly replied.
The LJP leaders were also apparently not in favour of the "stubborn, arrogant and inaccessible" Paswan, sources told NDTV. Many found Paras' style of functioning closer to that of the late LJP founder, they added.