Tuesday, April 23
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Chirag Paswan: A Rising Youth Leader Shaping Bihar’s Political Landscape

In recent times, after the demise of Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan has emerged as a prominent figure in the political landscape. While he was relatively less active in the early days after his uncle, Pashupati Nath Paras, took the responsibility of leading the party, Chirag eventually established himself as the rightful heir to his father’s political legacy. During the period of turmoil within the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Chirag Paswan broke away and led the party himself, even though there were some family disputes.

Chirag Paswan, as a political leader, garnered considerable attention and support, especially among the youth in Bihar. He positioned himself as a pro-BJP leader and never directly opposed the party, maintaining a pro-Modi stance. In the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections, he chose to contest on around 135 seats, most of which were contested by candidates from the Janata Dal (United) [JDU]. Some analysts believed that he was doing so on the BJP’s behest to cut down on JD(U)’s seats. While Chirag Paswan’s party did not manage to win many seats, it significantly reduced the JD(U)’s tally compared to the previous elections. It was speculated that Chirag’s active participation contributed to the JD(U)’s setback.

Although Chirag Paswan failed to secure a substantial number of seats for his party, he displayed influence over a significant portion of the Dalit votes, which is crucial in Bihar’s politics. Despite the electoral results, Chirag Paswan remained vocal about his alignment with the BJP and consistently emphasized his commitment to the party. He became more active in Bihar politics and attempted to build a presence in the state.

Following the elections, Chirag Paswan has had discussions with Union Minister Nityanand Rai regarding joining the BJP. These discussions indicate that he is open to collaborating with the BJP and is considering his future role in the party. Speculations arose that Chirag might aim to contest from his father’s traditional Hajipur seat in the next Lok Sabha elections.

The emergence of young leaders like Chirag Paswan, Tejashwi Yadav, Kanhaiya Kumar, and Pankaj Yadav has brought the youth to the forefront of Bihar politics. Almost 56% of Bihar’s voters fall within the age group of 18 to 40 years. With Nitish Kumar’s exit from power, Bihar may see the rise of a young Chief Minister. Chirag Paswan has managed to gain popularity among not just his caste but also other youth in Bihar. His party, LJP, had attempted to appeal to various castes, particularly the Rajputs, Bhumihars, and Brahmins, thereby broadening its electoral appeal.

In summary, Chirag Paswan’s journey in politics after his father’s demise has been marked by ups and downs. He has positioned himself as a pro-BJP leader and has shown potential to influence a significant portion of the youth vote in Bihar. With discussions about joining the BJP ongoing, it remains to be seen how Chirag Paswan’s political career unfolds and what role he might play in the future politics of Bihar.

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