Bihar Elections: If Chirag Paswan is Hanuman, PM Modi is Ram, who is Nitish Kumar?

Actor turned politician Chirag Paswan, is in damage control mode after ruffling feathers in the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership


Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan, the inheritor of his father Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s political legacy has found himself in a precarious position and on one of the biggest political crossroads in Bihar. The actor-turned-politician has big shoes to fill after the sudden demise of his father, and has already decided to fight the Bihar elections without the protective cover of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an ally of his party at the centre. The BJP leadership has not reacted well to this. 

Faced with backlash, 37-year-old Paswan who is projecting himself as the youth leader of Bihar, and perhaps a contender of the Chief Minister’s office, has now attempted to showcase himself as a devotee of Prime Minister Narenda Modi.

“I am his Hanuman. If you tear open my chest, you will find Modi-ji”, he declared dramatically, adding that he did not need to campaign with “posters or photos of PM Modi.” Paswan junior is facing a massive attack in Bihar, state news reports after he criticised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a BJP ally. The LJP leader was warned off by the BJP against using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image in his campaign, reported NDTV. In reaction he decided to tell his opponents he was the “Hanuman” to the PM’s Ram. He did add an acerbic line for the CM and said it was Nitish Kumar who needed the PM’s photos more, he sneered, since he was “insecure”.


According to the NDTV report, the LJP MP, still observing the mourning rituals after his father’s demise, also told the media that CM Nitish Kumar had snubbed him and not expressed condolences to him even once. He said when Ram Vilas Paswan’s body was flown from Delhi to Patna, Nitish Kumar was at the airport to pay tribute but did not acknowledge him. “I touched his feet and he ignored me. Everyone saw that,” he said.

“I am shocked that because of our personal feelings, we even forget basic shishtachar (courtesy),” stated the news report, adding that Paswan said the Chief Minister had “not said a word” to either him or his mother since his father’s death. “Everyone met me and my mother and condoled his death. The Chief Minister has not said one word since papa died. The PM spoke to me on the phone the day he died and came the next day. He kept his hands on my shoulder for a long time… I still remember his reassuring words,” Paswan was quoted by NDTV.

How grievances against  Nitish Kumar seem to run deep, and he told the media that after that day he had met the CM twice but was ignored on both occasions, “Ïn the assembly he did not even look me in the eyes. And at a tribute meeting later, I went to him with folded hands, I became a little emotional…yet Nitish Kumar was unmoved. He still said nothing.”


As media reports have noted, Chirag Paswan’s decision to contest the Bihar polls separately from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and fight Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU)  has left the BJP in a bind. The party is in collaboration with Nitish Kumar, though LJP and Chirag Paswan remain allied to it at the Centre. According to news reports Paswan had said he had wanted to fight Nitish Kumar with BJP leaders including Amit Shah. 

The BJP, however, distanced itself from his remarks and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Chirag Paswan has chosen a separate path in Bihar; he is trying to mislead people by taking the names of senior BJP leaders. We don’t have any B or C team. NDA will get a three-fourth majority. Chirag’s party will be left as a vote-cutter party.” said today. This is a warning sign for LJP which has just lost its founder, who was one of the most popular leaders of Bihar.


The NDTV report quotes another BJP leader, Bhupinder Yadav, who said, “Chirag Paswan’s comments on the NDA and Nitish Kumar are extremely unfortunate. He contested the Lok Sabha election as part of this alliance and became an MP. In February he was praising the Bihar government to the skies! What happened in six months? Because of his vested interests, he is indulging in the politics of lies.”

Paswan however has not taken the hint, and said “I know Sushil Modi (BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister) is being instigated by the Chief Minister as he is insecure.”  He added that this was not the first time that NDA allies were fighting each other in polls, “The JDU contested against the BJP in Gujarat and Jharkhand,” he said. The LJP leader also responded to the JDU’s taunt on using Nitish Kumar for his Lok Sabha campaign last year. “The JDU’s leaders opposed us during the campaign. Everywhere we were betrayed – in Jamui, Hajipur, Vaishali and Nawada. My father used to call the Chief Minister everyday, until we realized Nitish Kumar was telling people to defeat LJD” reported NDTV.

Ironically the rift with Nitish Kumar, became public Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Ram Vilas Paswan had said, “I am confident that with his youthful thinking, Chirag will take the party and Bihar to new heights. I firmly stand by all the decisions of Chirag. I hope that I will soon be well and among my loved ones.” He had stood by his son Chirag’s decisions on seat sharing for the Bihar assembly polls. The LJP had authorised Chirag Paswan to take a call on whether the party will fight against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-headed Janata Dal (United) in the assembly polls and to prepare its list of candidates 

According to news reports Chirag Paswna’s run-in with the government in Bihar began in March this year when he embarked on a ‘Bihar First Bihari First’ campaign which was viewed with suspicion by the JD(U). Since then the LJP chief has been taking potshots at the JD(U) government over its handling of Covid-19, the migrant crisis, and holding assembly elections, scheduled in October-November, while the pandemic rages on. On October 4 Paswan had announced that the LJP will contest the Bihar Election 2020 “on its own.” He had said the decision was taken due to “state-level ideological differences with the JDU.”


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