Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which severed ties with the NDA on December 10, is likely to join the UPA on Thursday and become part of the RJD-led Grand Alliance in Bihar. Sources said RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha has been offered four or five seats to contest in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress is expected to hold a joint press conference in New Delhi on Thursday, which will be attended by RJD’s Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, HAM’s Jitan Ram Manjhi and possibly Kushwaha, sources said.
A source close to Kushwaha said: “Our leader has met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and RLSP’s message about joining UPA has been conveyed to AICC president Rahul Gandhi. As the UPA is meeting on Thursday, the RLSP chief will most likely join UPA on Thursday.” Kushwaha has been talking to RJD through Congress channel and though he spoke of three options after leaving the NDA, it has been evident from his political overtures that he would join the UPA.
Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who will attend the UPA meeting in Delhi, has already invited Kushwaha to join the Grand Alliance. An RJD leader said: “Though Kushwaha has been demanding six seats, it looks too optimistic. He may get four or maximum five seats.”
While Kushwaha has also been demanding Chatra (Jharkhand), the RJD is not willing to concede it. “We have to see winnability of candidates. Seats which will be offered to Kushwaha will surely have good OBC Koeri and EBC Dhanuk votes. If Kushwaha dents Nitish Kumar’s Koeri-Kurmi vote base, he would prove to be an asset for us,” an RJD leader said.