Disgruntled JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha on Wednesday said he would give up his rebellion if Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ruled out the possibility of handing over the mantle to his deputy Tejashwi Yadav, who is from the RJD.
Talking to reporters here, the former Union minister asserted that he would happily function as “an ordinary party worker, worth five rupees”, if the JD(U) leadership was assumed by “anybody from among the Luv Kush Samaj (Kurmis and Koeris) or the EBCs whose aspirations have been the party’s driving force”.
“The RJD people keep saying a deal was struck at the time of formation of the alliance. This has led to turmoil in the party. Only the CM can put an end to rumours by announcing that he was not backing Tejashwi as the leader for 2025 assembly polls”, he said.
Kushwaha, who had returned to JD(U) in 2021 merging Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, claimed he was not interested in being a claimant for the leadership of the party.
“But this party will sink if the current situation continues. Nitish Kumar had pulled Bihar out of the dark ages. His legacy is under cloud”, said Kushwaha who was rewarded with the post of parliamentary board chief and a berth in legislative council immediately upon return to JD(U).
Asked about suspicions that he was acting at the behest of the BJP which he had allied with as the RLSP chief, Kushwaha replied testily “how does it matter whether the BJP or the Muslim League is behind me”.
He also maintained that Kumar, now in his 70s, was no longer able to exercise his own judgement but being swayed by “two-three people close to him”.
True to form, Kushwaha declined to take any names when asked pointedly as to whom he was talking about.
Meanwhile, the RJD slammed Kushwaha for opening a front against Tejashwi Yadav, its founding president Lalu Prasad’s younger son and heir apparent.
“Yes, a deal was indeed struck when Nitish ji joined us last year. The deal was to fight against the onslaughts on the Constitution by the ruling BJP at the Centre”, said RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari.
“But Kushwaha must disclose whom he has fallen in love with these days (kinko dil de baithe hain). Is he still a socialist or has he struck a deal with communal forces”, said Tiwari.
The RJD spokesman also said, “it is of no use to declare someone or the other as the leader. Leaders earn their position by the blessings of the people”.