Pashupati Paras, Union minister and uncle of Bihar leader Chirag Paswan, indicated today that while he would tolerate his nephew’s presence in the NDA, anything more than that – a merger, or his having the Hajipur seat — cannot be expected. In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Mr Paras said, “Who is Chirag Paswan to say which seat belongs to him? Let him go to Jamui. I will contest from Hajipur… There are no ifs and buts about this”.
Mr Paras also brushed off the visuals of his warm hug to his nephew at the NDA meet, which many saw as a signal of rapprochement. “He is my nephew. He touched my feet. It was my duty to give him my blessings,” Mr Paras said. But that should not be misinterpreted, added the 71-year-old.
In an ‘I told you so’ moment, he also added that Chirag Paswan’s decision to part company with the NDA had brought about the split in the party.
“Our fight with Chirag Paswan was over contesting the 2020 elections as part of the NDA. But at the time he was the president of the party and he did not listen to us… Five out of six MPs wanted to side with the NDA. But he didn’t listen to us… On the one hand used to say that he is “Hanuman” of the BJP, on the other he fielded candidates against the BJP on six seats,” Mr Paras said.
A merger now is out of the question, he added. “I say again and again that when a team breaks, it can be put together, but not so the heart… We have family issues for which we cannot merge together,” he said.
The BJP, with an eye on Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, has been insisting on a re-unification of the two factions of the Lok Janshakti Party. Asked about the possibility, Chirag Paswan told NDTV earlier today, “In my family, such decisions are taken by the elders”.
He also dropped hints that the question of Hajipur seat has already been settled in his favour by the NDA. “This decision will be made or has been made already. I’ll say this much. the LJP (Ram Vilas) will contest the election from Hajipur,” he added.
Asked if he would join forces with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in case the BJP gives the Hajipur seat to Chirag Paswan, Pashupati Paras sounded peeved. “The BJP is with us. The Hajipur seat is ours. We will contest from Hajipur. There is no doubt about it,” he said.
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