Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha, who on Wednesday took on the BJP by saying that constructing temples is “not job of politicians” and that the saffron party is trying to “fuel people’s sentiments” by talking of the Ram temple in Ayodhya ahead of next year’s General Election, may announce a split from the BJP-led NDA on Thursday, it is learnt.
The RLSP is holding a three-day meeting to discuss its strategy after the BJP did not respond to the party’s November 30 deadline to announce seat-sharing in Bihar for the Lok Sabha elections among NDA partners. Kushwaha, one of the party’s three Lok Sabha MPs, is expected to announce his decision to leave the NDA at the concluding session of the three-day party meet at Motihari on Thursday.
Dropping hints of the ensuing split, Kushwaha told reporters in West Champaran on Wednesday: “My party has authorised me to take a decision (on the alliance). I will discuss it again with party leaders on Wednesday night. They have shared their grievances and aired their concerns… There will be an open forum in Motihari on Thursday.”
Kushwaha said his party had an alliance with the BJP and the LJP in 2014 but “never with Nitish Kumar”. He accused the Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar of failing to deliver on the education front despite being the chief minister for 14 years.
Taking on the BJP for talking about Ram temple construction, Kushwaha said, “It is not the job of politicians to construct temple or mosque. Let the (Supreme) Court take a call on this. We have almost entered election year, and the BJP is again fueling people’s sentiments by discussing temple construction in its bid to gain politically.”
RLSP insiders said the decision to go separate ways has already been taken. A party leader said, “It is good that we will announce our split on December 6 (the day Babri Masjid was razed) and will have enough reasons to attack the BJP on polarisation…. Out of 90-odd speakers at the (RLSP) session, more than 80 spoke in favour of a split from NDA. Only a few leaders wanted to stay with the NDA. But there were voices that said even Kushwaha might lose his own Karakat seat if he stayed with the NDA.”
Another party leader said Kushwaha elaborated about his efforts to negotiate with the BJP but BJP president Amit Shah apparently “ignored” him.