RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha has now demanded from the BJP more number of seats than Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) to contest the general elections slated to be held next year.
Barely days after a mega show of bonhomie between Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar signalled that spiral of dissent within the alliance had been controlled, the RLSP of Upendra Singh Kushwaha has joined the fray to claim the ‘big brother’ position in Bihar. The party has now demanded more number of seats than Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) to contest the general elections slated to be held next year. According to a report in The Indian Express, RLSP vice-president and spokesperson Jitendra Nath said that the party has increased its ‘support base’ in the state in the last four years and thus the RLSP supremo should be made the NDA’s face in Bihar, replacing Nitish Kumar.
The RLSP had in 2014 Lok Sabha polls contested three seats and won all of them. The seats were: Jahanabad, Karakat and Sitamarhi. Nath said that although the RLSP contested only three seats and MP Arun Kumar (Jahanabad MP) has broken ranks with the party, the RLSP still deserves to field candidates on more number of seats than Kumar’s JD(U) that had won just two seats out of 40 seats it had contested.
“We want to contest more seats than the JD(U) because our support base has increased over the last four years. Our leader Upendra Kushwaha is the future of Bihar politics with his growing acceptability. It is time he is made the NDA’s face in Bihar,” Nath told the daily.
Nath also appeared to have expressed his unhappiness over why ‘there has been little talks of other NDA allies RLSP and LJP’ with regard to the matter of seat-sharing among the four parties.
The reaction from the RLSP comes a day after CM Nitish Kumar said that a formal proposal over seat-sharing with the BJP will come in a month.
Nath added that it is ‘true that Nitish Kumar has emerged as the biggest non-Yadav leader in last 12 years’, but Kushwaha comes from the broad social group in which OBCs Koeri-Kurmi and EBC Dhanuk have an upper hand with about 20% vote share.
Calling for a change in the NDA leadership, he said, “Nitish Kumar has hit his political plateau and it is time for a change in the NDA leadership.”
On the party’s increasing alignment with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, he said that all such reports are just rumours. However, the IE report cited RJD sources as saying that RLSP and RLD leaderships have already held discussions at least two times over seat-sharing. They added that RJD will ‘surely offer more number of seats to the RLSP than the BJP’, adding that the RLSP has demanded 6-7 seats.