With its other options exhausted, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) on Tuesday announced a tie-up with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Janvadi Party Socialist (JPS). The new alliance said it would contest all 243 Assembly seats.
RLSP president and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha is also hopeful of bringing in Vikasshil Insaan Party (VIP) of Mukesh Sahni, who has been making last-ditch efforts to remain in the Grand Alliance.
Kushwaha, who walked out of the Grand Alliance last week, had reportedly contacted both JD(U) and BJP but failed to strike a deal because the NDA is already cramped. Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), had also returned to the NDA about a month ago.
At a joint press conference with BSP convenor Ramji Gautam, BSP’s Bihar unit head Bharat Prasad Bind and JPS’s Sanjay Singh Chouhan, Kushwaha said: “We will contest all 243 seats. Our common goal is to uproot the Nitish Kumar government. We have always been talking about a better education system in Bihar.”
Crucial poll for Kushwaha
Even as Upendra Kushwaha announced a new alliance, he would know that this is the toughest phase of his political career. He had won Ujiyarpur Lok Sabha seat in 2014, but failed to impress in the 2015 Assembly polls as his party won only two seats. The RLSP had crossed over to the Grand Alliance before 2019 Lok Sabha polls and contested five Lok Sabha seats, but without success.
Attacking both the NDA and Grand Alliance, Kushwaha said the people of Bihar have been “betrayed” by both alliances over 30 years when it came to governance. “Nitish failed to build a single model hospital or school in Bihar. Lalu Prasad (RJD) and Nitish Kumar are two sides of the same coin… I tried to impress upon them that Grand Alliance should change its leader. Lalu could not ensure that his son (Tejashwi Yadav) could clear his Class 10 examinations,” said Kushwaha.
One of the alliance partners, the BSP, has influence in Gopalganj, Rohtas and Kaimur districts, bordering UP. The party won six seats in the February 2005 Assembly polls and four seats in October 2005 polls. It fielded candidates in 228 seats in 2015 polls and got just over 2 per cent votes and no seats.
The JPS led by Sanjay Singh Chouhan — an OBC — has influence in Ghoshi area of UP. The party was in alliance with the BJP in 2012 and 2017 Assembly polls and 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and its cadre has been active in Bagaha, Valmiki Nagar and Kaimur in Bihar.
Meanwhile, chances of a broader third front look bleak now, with Asaduddin Owasi’s AIMIM and former MP Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party having separate alliances with smaller parties.
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