Paswan may not contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Paswan may not contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president and Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan is unlikely to contest 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The veteran parliamentarian is reportedly not keeping good health and may, therefore, opt for a berth in the Rajya Sabha. Paswan was operated upon in the UK last year.

Sources in the LJP said Paswan's son Chirag, at present Lok Sabha member from Jamui, may contest from Hajipur as it has been a family bastion since 1977 when Paswan won with a record margin during Janata Party wave.

“Most of the leaders within the party feel that Lok Sabha poll needs rigorous campaigning. This may take a toll on my father’s health. So, it’s advisable he shifts to Rajya Sabha,” said Chirag while interacting with the media at his parliamentary constituency.

Sources in the ruling camp told DH that this arrangement, if it succeeds, would resolve the seat-sharing "deadlock" within the NDA partners too. “The LJP, which contested on seven seats out of 40 Lok Sabha constituencies during the 2014 parliamentary polls (and won six), may scale down its demand to five seats during 2019 polls,” the source, well aware of the developments, told DH on Monday.

BJP chief Amit Shah has already indicated that the JD (U) and BJP would contest on equal number of seats (possibly 17 each) and leave the rest for its allies - LJP and Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).

Paswan, who underwent heart surgery in London in 2017, has so far not given his consent to bid goodbye to Lok Sabha polls. The veteran parliamentarian who won from his fiefdom eight times, besides serving once as a Rajya Sabha member, is reportedly not keen on hanging his boots but may eventually give in to his son’s suggestion.

“The real reason behind senior Paswan not opting for Lok Sabha polls is quite different,” said the source.

“Actually, the JD (U) has staked claim to Jamui Lok Sabha seat where Nitish Kumar wants his close aide Ashok Choudhary (former Bihar Congress president, who switched sides in 2017) to contest. Chirag will then have to find another suitable constituency. And what better option than his father’s bastion,” the source told DH.

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