Upendra Kushwaha led RLSP for early seat-sharing formula in Bihar for 2019 Lok Sabha polls

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Patna | Published: August 31, 2018 2:19:29 PM

The RLSP, a constituent of the NDA at the Centre, has urged the BJP to hold a meeting of all allies in Bihar.

Upendra Kushwaha, bihar, nitish kumar, bjpUpendra Kushwaha

The RLSP, a constituent of the NDA at the Centre, has urged the BJP to hold a meeting of all allies in Bihar to chalk out a seat-sharing formula well ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which is headed by Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, made the request yesterday in the wake of reports that the BJP has decided to contest 20 of the 40 seats, leaving the rest for allies including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP.

The reports were, however, discounted by senior BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

“We demand that the BJP, as the largest constituent of the NDA in Bihar, take initiative and convene a meeting of all allies at the earliest so that the issue of seat-sharing could be resolved”, RLSP national general secretary Madhaw Anand said.

He said, “the reports of the BJP having already taken a decision as to how many seats each constituent would contest lack authenticity… however, if there is any truth in these it is unfortunate on the part of our senior coalition partner as the reported formula does not give due weightage to Kushwaha who has emerged as one of the tallest leaders in Bihar.”

The reports suggested that out of the 20 seats left for allies, the JD(U) was likely to get 12-13, the LJP five and the RLSP only two or three seats.

The reports came close on the heels of Kushwaha having caused a flutter earlier this week when he spoke about the possibility of political ties between his own caste group and the Yadavs, which was inferred as the RLSP chief’s intent to join hands with the opposition RJD.

The Union minister, however, clarified later that he was very much in the NDA and he had spoken about “kheer” made of rice grown by Kushwahas and milk produced by Yadavs with an eye on expansion of his own party base.

A former confidant of Nitish Kumar, Kushwaha quit the JD(U) in 2013 and floated his own party. It contested the Lok Sabha elections the following year as a constituent of the NDA and won three seats. The RLSP bagged only two seats in the 2015 Assembly polls.

Kumar – who snapped 17-year-old ties with the BJP in 2013 – fought the Lok Sabha polls separately and the Assembly polls as part of the Grand Alliance comprising the RJD and the Congress. He returned to the NDA last year.

Meanwhile, Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted “neither any decision has been taken within the NDA on seat sharing for 2019, nor is there any controversy. We are aiming at winning all 40 seats and this is the common target of all NDA allies”.

Using an episode from the epic Mahabharata, he added “those who look at the bird’s eye, do not allow their gaze to wander elsewhere”.

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