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Battle of the in-laws looms in India election

Federal minister Paswan’s son-in-law plans to contest against him in Hajipur

Gulf News

Patna: India’s Federal Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan is facing a political challenge from within.

Paswan heads the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) which is a key constituent of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

But with the next Lok Sabha elections still months away, his son-in-law Anil Kumar Sadhu is planning to contest against the federal minister from Hajipur seat in Vaishali district which has been the traditional seat of Paswan since 1977. Paswan has lost this seat only three times during his 41-year-old active police career.

“If the RJD [Rashtriya Janata Dal] gives tickets to me or my wife Asha Paswan, we will definitely contest against him,” Paswan’s son-in-law told the media on Wednesday, adding he had already begun poll preparations.

He alleged his father-in-law had not only insulted his family but also the entire Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes community.

“Dalits are not their bonded labourers,” added Sadhu who unsuccessfully contested the last state polls. Not only that, Sadhu family is even keen to contest against Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan who represents Jamui seat in the Lok Sabha.

Sadhu is currently at war with his father-in-law for allegedly ignoring the interests of his Dalit community, whose support he has long relied on.

“Although the LJP chief claims to be working for Dalits, he has been constantly ignoring their interests just to stay in power somehow or the other,” alleged Sadhu who is now with the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) headed by Lalu Prasad.

The move is set to add to Paswan’s list of worries, as he is already facing pressure from his ally, the BJP, over seat allotments.

An unofficial report said the BJP was offering him fewer seats under the seat-sharing arrangement with a new ally, the Janata Dal United led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is also joining the NDA.

Last time, the LJP had been allocated seven seats of which it emerged victorious in six.

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