New Delhi: Both factions of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) are moving towards their political destinations amid the Election Commission (EC) freezing the symbol of the old LJP and allocating new symbol to each group. In all likelihood, Chirag Paswan will join the opposition alliance led by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, while the other faction may merge with the Janata Dal United (JDU). The party formed by former Union cabinet minister and late Dalit leader Ramvilas Paswan saw dramatic developments just after his death. In June this year, the parliamentary group of the party removed its national president and Lok Sabha MP from Jamui Chirag Paswan, as its leader and instead elected his uncle and late Ramvilas Paswan younger brother, Pasupati Kumar Paras as its leader. Since then, both the factions, one led by Chirag Paswan and the other led by his uncle Pasupati Kumar Paras, are involved in a bitter battle.

Many political experts who are aware of the dramatic developments believe that the ruling JDU had a role to play in the whole episode as it is widely accepted that Chirag Paswan badly damaged the prospects of the JDU in the Bihar Assembly elections held last October. Now, Chirag Paswan is going his own path outside the National democratic Alliance (NDA), while the Pasupati faction is very much with the NDA in Bihar. Many believe that Nitish Kumar used his veto to make Pashupati Kumar Paras a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

The state president of LJP (Chirag faction), Raju Tiwari, said: “We are the real LJP. The mass support is with Chirag Paswan. In his recent Jan Aarshirvaad yatra, people have supported him. We will decide about the alliance after some time as both Assembly and parliamentary elections are far away.”

Many experts believe that despite Chirag Paswan claiming that the popular support enjoyed by his father is with him and he is Ramvilas Paswan’s natural successor, the road ahead is tough. Ravi Prakash Pandey, a senior lecturer under Muzaffarpur University, said: “The road is very tough for Chirag Paswan. Till 2020, he got everything on a platter. He didn’t have to struggle. Only Paswan vote is not enough to install him as a leader in Bihar. Ramvilas Paswan had the realization about this all his life, that’s why since 1998, he used to be in a winning combination as 4-5% Paswan may act as an addition for any alliance in the state. Now, we have to see if Chirag Paswan can repeat that in future for Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.”

Opponents of Chirag Paswan have depicted him as a person who has been working since long to benefit the Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Mahagathbandhan. Senior JDU leader and former minister in Bihar government Neeraj Kumar said: “Chirag Paswan worked on the payroll of the RJD in the Assembly polls. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav would have not reached the Bihar Assembly if Chirag Paswan would not have helped him. Both of them were in a tactical alliance for a long time and if he joins hands with the RJD, it will be an official alliance now. Chirag Paswan is not a pan-Bihar leader even he is not a constituency leader as in his home parliamentary segment of Jamui; his candidates performed miserably in the Assembly polls with some candidates losing their deposits. Chirag Paswan himself got elected due to support of Nitish Kumar; hence he is not a person who can be taken seriously in the political landscape of Bihar.”