Union Minister Pashupati Paras Resigns Over ‘Injustice’ In Bihar Seat-Sharing Deal

New Delhi: Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP) president Pashupati Kumar Paras on Tuesday resigned from the Narendra Modi cabinet, claiming “injustice” following his party’s exclusion from the seat-sharing arrangement for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Bihar.

This came a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) confirmed a seat-share deal with Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party. Paswan is the nephew of Paras.

RLJP was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but has not been given any seats in the upcoming general elections, whereas LJP was allotted five seats, Jamui, Vaishali, Samastipur and Khagaria and Hajipur. Paras won from the Hajipur constituency in the 2019 election.

“The NDA (the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) deal has been announced. I am grateful to the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). My party and I faced injustice. So, I am resigning as minister.” Paras said.

Paras was non-committal on talk of a deal with the opposition – either with the state-level Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance or with national-level INDIA bloc led by the Congress. He has already confirmed that his party will contest the Hajipur seat.

Amid reports of the BJP finishing its Bihar deals last week, where Paras was not included in the seat sharing, he said his RLJP and its five members of Parliament, including himself, would contest the seats they won in the last election and the party itself is “free to go anywhere”, leading to talk of a deal within the opposition.

Paras won Hajipur five years ago as a member of the then-undivided Lok Janshakti Party. It was led then by party founder and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who was Chirag Paswan’s father.

The elder Paswan – who died in October 2020 – was an eight-time MP from Hajipur, which has never been won by the BJP.

The reason the saffron party has opted to side with the faction of the LJP led by Chirag Paswan underlines the belief that he now has complete command over the community vote. The Paswans account for around six per cent of the voting population in Bihar.

The only problem for the BJP could be that Paswan and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) – the other major partner in the state alliance – don’t really get along.

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