Updated: March 2, 2021 8:30:35 am
The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) is likely to merge with the Janata Dal (United) within the next two weeks, and RLSP chief and former MP Upendra Kushwaha may get a very important position within the JD(U) organisation, according to sources. This could be in consonance with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s idea to consolidate the core constituency of OBCs Koeri and Kurmi — known as Luv-Kush in political lexicon.
Sources in the JD(U) and RLSP confirmed to The Indian Express that Kushwaha and JD(U) veteran leader and Rajya Sabha MP Bashistha Narayan Singh have met several times in the past, most recently in Delhi, to finalise modalities of the merger. An RLSP source said Singh has been the main channel of communication between Nitish and Kushwaha.
Kushwaha had formed the RLSP in March 2013 and the party won all three Lok Sabha seats it contested in 2014 Lok Sabha polls as an NDA constituent. It drew a blank in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as an RJD ally.
The RLSP could not win any seat in the 2020 Assembly polls, but it damaged the JD(U)’s prospects in at least 10-15 seats in Khagaria, Begusarai, Saran, Vaishali, Gaya and Ara. It managed to get 5,000 to about 40,000 votes in 30-odd seats.
A JD (U) source said, “Initially, there has been an attempt to make Upendra Kushwaha an MLC and minister but he seems keen on getting a key position in the organisation.”
After the JD(U) was relegated to the third spot in the 2020 polls with 43 MLAs, behind RJD’s 75 and BJP’s 74 legislators, it has started reworking its strategy to strengthen the party. “With Kushwaha also drawing nil and almost relegated to political irrelevance, he also needs Nitish Kumar to stay afloat,” a source said.
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