Got better priorities in life: Chirag Paswan on rapprochement with uncle Paras | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Got better priorities in life: Chirag Paswan on rapprochement with uncle Paras

Apr 07, 2024 03:02 PM IST

In an interview with HT’s Vijay Swaroop, Chirag spells out his plans on dynastic politics, hinting that he has moved on from the Pashupati Paras episode on the National Democratic Unity and caste survey impact on elections in Bihar

Patna: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) president Chirag Paswan has managed to upstage his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras to become one of the most sought leaders after allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar, getting tickets for his party in return. Of the 40 seats in the state, the BJP has given five tickets to the LPJ.

Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan (File Photo)
Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan (File Photo)

The party, which is part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), is contesting on Vaishali, Hajipur, Samastipur, Khagaria and Jamui seats.

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Paswan had even offered the BJP to contest from his late father Ram Vilas Paswan’s constituency, Hajipur, which the senior Paswan represented eight times.

In an interview with HT’s Vijay Swaroop, Chirag spells out his plans on dynastic politics, hinting that he has moved on from the Pashupati Paras episode on the National Democratic Unity and caste survey impact on elections in Bihar.

What are the foremost issues in this Lok Sabha polls for you?

Answer: I have been raising the issue of Bihar’s development for a long time, through my ‘Bihar First, and Bihari First’ slogan, including in my recent campaigns. (Bihar First, Bihari First campaign aims to develop the state of Bihar thoroughly. Paswan has earlier said there is an utmost requirement to make Bihar a ‘number one’ state in the country.)

Also Read: Why the BJP has chosen Chirag Paswan over his uncle, Union minister Pashupati Paras

Our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a promise to make India a developed nation by 2047. This would be possible if each state develops as well.

After a long time, Bihar has a double-engine government, and it is bound to propel development. For a long time, the state and the Centre had contradictory governments, and that is one of the reasons the Bihar state has not been developed, the way it should have.

Take the example of Uttar Pradesh. The development in UP has been phenomenal, and we are confident that we would be fulfilling the dreams of development here too.

BJP has raised the issue of parivarvaad (dynastic politics). What is your stand on this since allegations have also been levelled against you?

Answer: PM Modi himself defined the term parivarvaad in the Parliament last year very clearly, what exactly it means. I also believe it can be a blessing to be a son or a daughter of big names, but that cannot be your USP (unique selling point) for success. If you do not have the potential or capability, nothing can work for you, big surnames cannot carry you too far. You have to prove yourself in the field to win people’s trust.

Let me be candid. I also faced the same (allegations) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. If surname mattered, I would have won by a huge margin as my father was alive at the time. But that was not the case. I only won by 85,000 votes. I worked hard and won by over 250,000 votes in the 2019 Lok Saba polls. It all depends do how well you connect with people to win their trust. Only hard work pays.

Also Read: Chirag Paswan on possible Lok Sabha election faceoff with Pashupati Paras: ‘Uncle to decide’

How do you access opposition in Bihar?

Answer: The opposition is very fragmented. I do not see any unity, I do not see the opposition geared up properly. Their priorities are not clear. When one is working in alliance, the other has to see that there is no compromise with nationalism.

The Opposition as I see it, is not even sticking to coalition dharma. They are distributing tickets without taking other partners into confidence. Take the case of Purnea in Bihar, where two allies are fighting (referring to Pappu Yadav, who filed his nomination for the Purnea Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, which has gone to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) as part of the seat-sharing pact of the Opposition alliance also comprising the Congress, a party he had joined a little over a week ago).

At the national level as well, there is a lack of cohesion. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress are fighting together, but in neighbouring Punjab, they are fighting independently (against each other). There is no clarity between them.

Do you think a caste survey would make an impact or development would play a role in this Lok Sabha election?

Answer: Caste survey, not really. Everything will boil down to development. I do believe that in my state, which has always faced this accusation of banking on caste-based politics, things have changed.

Of late, I see these barriers are being broken. Youths cutting across caste and creed are voting for development, and general voters are clamouring for better avenues. This is why we see bigger victory margins in 2024.

You have been a bitter critic of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Now you have started appreciating him. Is it because both you and Nitish are on the same side, or there has been a quantum change in governance for which you have targeted the Bihar CM?

Answer: For me, the nation comes first. Today, all allies of the BJP, be it the Janata Dal (United), LJP (Ram Vilas)), Hindustani Awam Morcha and Rashtriya Lok Morcha, have come together with the priority to make PM Modi our PM again.

All allies are working towards a common goal with clarity and honesty. This election is to ensure that the NDA government comes to power again and Modi becomes the Prime Minister again and with this goal in mind, we all, including Nitish Kumar are working sincerely to win all 40 seats. Yes, it is true that in some seats we have to work hard and put in extra effort.

Also Read: ‘NDA will win all 40 Bihar seats’: PM Modi campaigns for ‘little brother’ Chirag Paswan in Jamui

Your uncle (Pashupati Kumar Paras) has extended support to you after bitterness. Is there any chance of a rapprochement or merger of the two LJP factions in future?

Answer: I do not know how to answer this as it concerns my entire family, including myself, my uncle, my buas (father’s sister), and every other member. My aunts were hurt most after the split decision was taken by my chacha (uncle Pashupati Paras). He apparently has burnt all bridges. He used to say so many things. Spoke never, never, never whenever he was asked about re-rapprochement.

What has hurt us most is that he used to call my mother Bhabhi but after the split, that relationship suddenly became ‘Chirag Ki Maa’ (Chirag’s mother). My cousin Prince, the current MP from Samastipur started addressing my mother by her name, that too, with the wrong surname, Reena Sharma Paswan. I went to my uncle’s house after the split and was made to wait at the gate for over an hour. My uncle never considered me like his son.

Things like this have left no scope to build a bridge when so much has happened. I have moved on. Much water has flowed down the Ganga. I have better priorities in life. I am building my janadhar (mass support), my party. So the question is not a point of concern in my party.

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