As Pashupati Kumar Paras takes oath, nephew Chirag’s side moves court

Stating that the party had never been in contention for a Cabinet berth, LJP principal general secretary Abdul Khalique told The Indian Express, “We have no issues at Paras being made a (Union) minister. But he cannot be treated as an LJP minister.”

On a day Pashupati Kumar Paras, leader of a faction of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) that walked away with most of the party’s Lok Sabha MPs, was administered the oath of office as Union Cabinet minister, the opposing faction led by Jamui MP Chirag Paswan moved Delhi High Court against Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s decision to declare Paras as the LJP Parliamentary party leader.

Stating that the party had never been in contention for a Cabinet berth, LJP principal general secretary Abdul Khalique told The Indian Express, “We have no issues at Paras being made a (Union) minister. But he cannot be treated as an LJP minister.”

In what can be seen as a soft swipe at the saffron party, the party also said that the BJP “did not follow gathbandhan (alliance) dharma”.

The Chirag-led LJP, which had walked out of NDA in Bihar from 2020 Assembly elections, is still part of NDA at the Centre.

Chirag and LJP leaders with him, however, did not directly attack the BJP and hold it responsible for engineering a split in the party.

Khalique said, “When Paras and four other LJP MPs got an easy appointment from Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, one can smell some design.”

Asked whether it was a BJP ‘design’, Khalique said: “We are not naming any party. We are only saying when five of our MPs met the Speaker; our party leader should have been consulted…. We are still saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a soft corner for Chirag and treats him as his son.”

Khalique said they had argued before Birla against declaring Paras as LJP’s Parliamentary party leader. “The Speaker had assured us of action but did nothing,” he contended. “Now that Paras has been made a minister, there has to be legal and constitutional clarity on his political affiliation. We have sought a stay from Delhi High Court on the Speaker’s decision to recognise Paras as LJP leader in Lok Sabha.”

Khalique pointed out that Chirag is the LJP president “and also its leader in Lok Sabha” in Election Commission of India’s records.

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