union minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan’s hopes for an easy victory in his pocket borough of Hajipur in next year’s Lok Sabha polls may be dashed as one of his daughters is getting ready to contest against him as an RJD candidate.
Asha Devi, the daughter of Paswan and his first wife Raj Kumari Devi, said on Friday that she would join the poll fray against the Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution. “I am going to contest against him (Paswan) if I get an RJD ticket,” she said.
Accusing Paswan of discriminating against his daughters and promoting his brothers and his son Chirag Paswan, who is currently the LJP MP from Jamui and the party’s parliamentary board chief, Asha said she aims at defeating her father in the polls “in the interests of the country’s Dalits”.
Her husband Anil Kumar Sadhu, who quit LJP in March and joined RJD, said his father-in-law had “cheated both his family and the Dalits of the country” for his personal gains. Sadhu, who used to be the president of Dalit Sena when he was with LJP, said RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is his leader and that he would spend his energies in securing the RJD-led grand alliance’s victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.
Sadhu is himself keen on contesting the Lok Sabha polls on an RJD ticket. “We (he and wife) are all ready to contest against Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan. Our aim is to defeat them in the polls. They have deceived the country’s Dalits by allying with the anti-Dalit BJP,” said Sadhu, whose father, Punit Rai, had represented Fatuha assembly constituency for five consecutive terms from 1980 onwards.
Ram Vilas Paswan divorced Raj Kumari Devi in 1981 and married Reena Sharma, who hails from Amritsar in Punjab, in 1983. He had two daughters – Asha and Usha – with Raj Kumari Devi, who has been living an obscure life in Bihar’s Khagaria. Paswan and Reena have a son, Chirag Paswan, and a daughter.
The LJP chief has won the LS polls from Hajipur eight times since 1977, losing thrice – in 1984, 1996 and 2009. His victory in 1977 with a margin of 4.24 lakh votes had earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.