In a clear indication of his party severing all ties with the NDA, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha Monday met Loktantrik Janata Dal party founder Sharad Yadav in the national capital. Yadav had formed the LJD after quitting JDU following Nitish Kumar’s return to NDA in 2016.
Kushwaha alleged Chief minister Nitish Kumar has been trying to poach MLAs. “He has come down to destroying Upendra Kushwaha and his Party but he cannot cause any damage to me. He is a part of the NDA and so are we, he should not do such things,” ANI quoted him as saying after the meeting.
The fight between JD(U) and RLSP took a turn for the worse on Sunday, with both RLSP MLAs reportedly offering to join JD(U). RLSP MLAs Sudhanshu Shekhar and Lalan Paswan met top JD(U) leaders, including its national vice-president Prashant Kishor, and were reportedly offered a ministerial berth and the Sasaram parliamentary seat, respectively.
This made Kushwaha upset who accused JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar of poaching his MLAs. Kushwaha said Nitish Kumar had “an expertise in breaking away MLAs” and had come after his party after having earlier split the BSP, RJD and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). “Nitish Kumar should know that just as taking and demanding dowry is a crime, poaching MLAs is as much a crime… I am seeking time to meet Amit Shah and will also speak to LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan.”
Since JD(U) and RLSP share a similar social base, Kushwaha has been under pressure in NDA since Nitish Kumar’s return to the alliance. BJP reportedly offered RLSP two Lok Sabha seats for the 2019 election, but Kushwaha is not ready to settle for anything less than four seats.
With the BJP showing little sign of intervening in the RLSP-JD(U) divide, the RLSP is expected to walk out of the NDA in December first week.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA won 31 out of 40 seats in Bihar. The JD(U) which parted ways with the NDA just before the polls could manage just two seats, while Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP won six Lok Sabha seats and Kushwaha’s RSLP had won in three constituencies. With Kumar’s return to NDA fold, Kushwaha does not want to give up seats for JDU and instead want BJP to accomodate it by reducing its seat share.
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