On the day news rooms were buzzing with Rahul Gandhi’s remark on ‘dynastic politics’, in a significant development Lok Janshakti Party leader Pashupati Kumar Paras took oath as a Bihar legislative council member that too on the Governor’s quota. Paras is younger Brother of Cabinet Minister for Food & Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan who is also head of LJP. His Son Chiragh Paswan and another brother Ram Chandra Paswan are also Members of parliament. Paras got the Animal husbandry Ministry as Nitish Kumar JDU’s switched over to NDA and LJP being an NDA constituent.
Interestingly, those who are taunted as ‘dynasts’ by and large obtain the public nod through democratic elections after gaining preferential nominations from respective parties. Yet Pashupati Paras induction in the Bihar’s NDA cabinet despite being defeated in 2015 assembly election could be listed as most brazen instance of dynastic politics. More so, no other justification sounds logical for preferring Paras over two elected party MLAs other than his being LJP supremo’s brother. It proves that Rahul Gandhi was right, that indeed, buck does not stop only on him. And if whole Indian politics may not run on dynasts, there are substantial of them who run the country.
Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation has been filed in Patna High Court challenging the Minister’s nomination in legislative council from governor’s quota. M. P. Singer, a lawyer through his PIL argued that as per constitution the Governor can nominate only those who have made special contributions to the society. According to him as Paras does not fulfill these criteria his nomination should be squashed.
As Nitish Kumar’s JDU is facilitating the induction, it exposes the party stand against dynastic politics. It became apparent that the party’s sharp criticism of RJD’s and terming it a ‘family venture’ is all about ‘politics of convenience’ rather than of principle. After all, it was until the breakup with RJD, JDU was not averse to form government with.
As far as BJP is concerned its approach towards the phenomenon is selective. The party which so ferociously opposes ‘dynast’ of the ‘other side of aisle’, however, get perfectly comfortable when the same practice prevailed among leaders within the parties or its partners. Once again the vice becomes virtue as soon as the fate has been attached with NDA. The same LJP which was previously mocked by the saffron party for this kind of politics is now being appreciated.
According to a political observer, Ram Vilas during his four decade careers has already achieved the clout and means to win elections on even unreserved seats. Yet he and his family members continue to fight elections on SC reserved seats which is not going down well with a section of community leaders. Although, the party presently has Six MPs but political observers believe that it is largely due to Narendra Modi wave in 2014 rather than due to its own strength.
Shams Khan is a journalist based in Patna.