Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha is likely to announce his decision on continuing with BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Thursday.
Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha is likely to announce his decision on continuing with BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Thursday. The RLSP is holding a rally in Motihari today following a two-day ‘chintan shivir’. According to a senior party leader, Kushwaha is set to announce his departure from the NDA and will quit the Cabinet as well.
“That (Kushwaha’s resignation) is just a formality which would be completed once he visits the national capital and meets the prime minister,” the leader told PTI on terms of anonymity.
Kushwaha has been at loggerheads with BJP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the issue of seat-sharing among NDA partners for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Kushwaha has also been meeting opposition leaders, signalling he may join the Grand Alliance of RJD and Congress which has been wooing him for sometime now.
On Wednesday, the RLSP passed a resolution attacking both BJP and Nitish Kumar saying almost everyone in the party has spoken against Janata Dal (United) and Bihar BJP which is being led by Deputy CM Sushil Modi.
The party said that its association was with NDA of which BJP and LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan were the constituents. But now it appears that the association is over.
‘We had no alliance with Nitish Kumar in any case. He returned to the coalition only last year while were had been a part of NDA since 2014,” it said.
Kushwaha was once considered a close confidant of Nitish but quit the JD(U) and floated the RLSP ahead of the general elections in 2014. The RLSP had joined the BJP-led NDA following Nitish’s exit. Kushwaha and Nitish come from the strong Koeri and Kurmi communities, respectively, that have a significant say in the state’s electoral politics. Koeris traditionally votes along with Kurmis and the two constitute around 10% of the state’s population. Nitish Kumar is a Kurmi.
Expressing grave concern over many objectionable and unnecessary decisions taken by the BJP in the recent past, the resolution said, “We are not opposed to the construction of mosques and temples. But this is not the function of political parties and their meddling in such matters causes tensions in the society and diverts the attention of the public from real issues.”
In its strongest criticism so far of the Nitish Kumar government, the party said that the CM’s silence over scams during his tenure have give rise to suspicion of his involvement. It added that law and order has collapsed in the state and people are living in fear.
“The party (RLSP) takes the pledge to dislodge this government from power in the state, deeming it necessary to usher in peace and prosperity,” the resolution said.
Kushwaha has also been in talks with former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav who had opposed Nitish Kumar’s decision to dissolve the Grand Alliance government last year and form a new government with support from the BJP. Yadav has now floated a new party and there are speculations that the leaders are toying with the idea of a merger.
The RLSP had won all the three parliamentary seats it had contested in 2014. After Nitish Kumar’s return to the NDA, the division of 40 Lok Sabha seats among the four constituents of NDA became a big headache for the BJP. The BJP and JD(U) have already announced that they will contest an equal number of seats. According to Kushwaha, the BJP had offered him two seats, a demand he rejected.