PATNA: Are political compulsions prompting Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan to say good bye to active politics?
Paswan’s son and parliamentarian Chirag Paswan dropped ample hints about this when he said the prominent dalit leader shouldn’t be confined to a particular political constituency and must have his presence in the Rajya Sabha.
“He (Paswan) has remained confined to a political constituency for long and must break this barrier. His constituency should be bigger now and he must reach the Parliament through the Rajya Sabha to suit his political stature,” Chirag who represents Jamui seat in the Lok Sabha told the newsmen last evening.
The observation comes amid reports that the BJP is not giving “proper treatment” to the LJP and is offering much lesser number of seats than seven it had got under the seat-sharing arrangement in the last LS polls.
Paswan for long has been contesting from Hajipur LS seat in Bihar and except for few occasions, he emerged victorious from this seat. He has lost his home LS seat only thrice in the past 41 years since he contested the first LS elections in 1977. As such, Paswan has become synonymous with Hajipur such has been his affection and engagements with this seat.
The Dalit leader became a household name right in his LS poll debut in 1977 when he won the elections with a record margin of 4.24 lakh, sending him straight to the Guinness Book of World Records. In between 1977 and 2017, he lost his elections only thrice—first time in 1984 when he got defeated by Congress candidate Ram Ratan Ram during the massive sympathy wave in the aftermath of assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, then in 1991 when he lost to JD-U candidate Ram Sundar Das and finally in 2009 when he again lost to Das.
ight now, the LJP headed by Paswan is facing virtual existential crisis with the BJP not giving it due weightage and the opposition Grand Alliance already crowded with too many parties while it itself doesn’t have the capability to go it alone. Paswan, quite like his new political friend and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar, has performed well only when fighting elections in alliance.
Paswan suffered possibly the severest humiliation of his career when the BJP chief Amit Shah and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, in a curious political move unilaterally announced to contest equal number of seats in Bihar having a total of 40 LS seats.
Two other NDA’s allies—LJP and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP)—were not even invited at the Press meet when Shah-Kumar duo made announcement of the NDA seat-sharing deal for Bihar.
In the last LS polls, Paswan’s LJP had won six out of seven LS seats while RLSP had emerged victorious form all three seats they were given under the seat-sharing arrangement. But now with BJP and the JD-U deciding to contest equal number of seats, chances are that remaining NDA allies could be spared a maximum of six seats—four for the LJP and two for the RLSP.
The problem with the two parties are that the opposition Grand Alliance too is crowded this time with the RJD, Congress, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Sharad Yadav’s party being part of the it while all the Left parties, SP and the BSP willing to join the GA. If that happens, the LJP and RLSP could get their egos barely satisfied.
Courtesy: The Statesman